Tuesday, March 14, 2006

American Idol 03/14/06 - Wonder Shoe-Zen

Idol - Stevie Wonder Edition
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Muy Malos Zapatos
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Oh!....here it comes Elizabeth! The first real big show of the season! All that carb loading and those marathon sprints have led us, the devoted fans, to the first of 12 (or 14) final shows of the season. For the other 40 million people who always manage to blow off Bible study or their kid's dance recitals at this juncture in the show, welcome! But do not expect me to pull over and explain the differences in the McGirls (McGhee and McPhee) or tell you why Bucky is up there on stage. You should have just watched Idol from the beginning and TiVo'd Antique's Roadshow instead!
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The audience is crazy tonight! Lots of energy in the room as the house lights come down to a small series of spots on Ryan Secrets who is on the Mezzanine amongst the peoples. People who, by the way, take nothing for granted - not even the chance to wave constantly into the camera rather than actually listen to Ryan as he talks. Ryan has nothing to say that hasn't been heard for 5 years in a row mind you, but it just seems silly to bring the camera out into the audience when all you'll get are reactions like that. Honestly, it's like abusing it just because it's there in front of you. This is the same reason we have problems in this country with guns in the hands of kids...and the elderly!
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Ryan test drives the new set. Let's see, we have 1,000 lights! Check! It seems to me that 1,000 would be a low ball number but it must be that low because I've never known the Producers to play with numbers and figures like that. [cough] They also have a bigger band. Check! I guess the other band just didn't work out. And hey, since when are they not required to dress up? That back up singer must have just rolled out of the Lee Jeans outlet. Didn't that homemade jeans mini skirt look go out a long time ago? !Really everyone, this is the same exact set that they had last year. They just duct taped where Bo hit the Video Orb with his mic stand a few times and called it a day.
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Finally! The top 12 come out....let the make overs begin! Wow a little touch up here and there on everybody, all except for Bucky. How disappointing. I think maybe the stylist didn't even try. Oh wait! I think she trimmed the eyebrows! At least maybe he flossed for us.
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We go to the judges who are all looking mighty unfabulous tonight. What is this TJ Max looking nightmare I see there! Where do rich people shop in L.A.?! I've been to Fred Segal dammit, I know they got something not in maroon Randy! I think they are happy for the kids though, this is their big night. Paula calls this group the most "well diversed," seriously!, and she says "the most talked about American Idol contestants so far." Mmmm, I highly doubt that Miss Paula. I seem to remember a little something that would lead me to believe that possibly Season 2 had the most talked about American Idol contestant(s) so far.
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Tonight is Stevie Wonder night. I find it hard to believe there is anyone out there who would not know who Stevie Wonder is but just to make sure, we go through his life story in about 10 seconds flat (Ryan had to help open a Rite Aid after his voice over). In it we discover that Stevie is awesome! I wish that on Oscar night I could just stand on the stage and sing "I Just Called To Say I Love You" into a fucking phone the entire song! That my friends, is power!
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Ace is up first and for those of you who are stuck on Ace Bandage, please let his entire little "scene" tonight remind you of his true plasticity. Ace presumably gets to meet Stevie first because he is the prettiest. He will be singing "Do I Do" and while going over the melody and otherwise chit-chatting, Ace begins to rub Stevie. Umm, sir....PLEASE do not rub the music icon. Thank you. Here's where I just lose it with Ace. He is a horrible little actress. When talking about being in the presence of greatness like Stevie Wonder he starts to cry...I guess. Actually, what he does is "pretends to cry" but instead mixes that with "wakes up in the morning" and ends up looking like he is picking an eye booger and then...looks at it! Shameless. I see that there is no taboggin tonight (yes I know it is in his back pocket!). I guess whatever malady was infiltrating his scalp the past few weeks has been cleared up. Ace sounds pretty much like Stevie so I'm not gonna knock his performance overall. I just kind of think that going first among 12 guys is gonna be tough and overall it's not really powerful enough for me to remember. Scene #2, at the end of the song we have a very well placed pout. I have noticed that the pout and the note are like an oreo cookie. They are always on top of each other for about the same distance. Oddly, it didn't feel like the song even warranted a pout but there you go. I think it was meant to burn into my soul but it missed and hits my pancreas instead. Ace's brother is here. Randy thinks it started off shaky but was just "aiiight" overall. Randy gets booed because of this but that's okay because Paula speaks for everyone when she says that they were very entertained. Simon counters that by saying that they are just easily pleased. The crowd sounds more like the studio audience from Let's Make A Deal than a group of people here to listen to music.
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All the signs in the crowd seem to be yellow in nature tonight, must be the new requirement. Kellie Pickler is not familiar with Stevie Wonder. They just didn't play him much at the Sonic in Albemarle, North Carolina. So painful to see a generation that hasn't listened to Stevie Wonder, sheesh! Sign of old age #1! Kellie will be singing "Blame It On The Sun" which is a song that I am not too familiar with so I am hearing it for the first time. I keep thinking that this is what the song would sound like if Tammy Wynette sang it, she has an "old country" voice, not one of these Shania Twain country rock trollop type voices. Basic set design 101: Don't you think that for a song called "Blame It On The Sun" they would at least use a...sun! Instead they throw us a dark color scheme and a moon! "Sorry, we're all out of sun graphics! How about some stars?" The first of the shows shoe drama, Kellie is wearing a nice black dress with red heels! [going to hell] Is Stevie doing double duty with wardrobe?! Randy calls it a non-event, the Pickler spark wasn't there. Assumedly because she didn't fall to her knees tonight. He loves the shoes though. Way to call out the shoes Dawg! Paula does not love the shoes. She feels that the razzle dazzle is gone. Pickler spark, razzle dazzle, whatever, she's not a package of Pop Rocks at your beck and call people. Simon complains about the outfit by saying that she has gone to Dolly Parton school but last week called her a naughty little minx. What gives? Oh, and there is talk of Tarantulas.
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Elliott Yamin is so cute the way he crys at the drop of a Stevie. Take a lesson Ace! It is amazing to see the way that Stevie reacts to each of the contestants in the clips. I close my eyes when he talks to Elliott and surprisingly, I think that Stevie might think that he is black. Elliott embues soul when he sings a Stevie song. The caveat to this whole thing is that obviously Stevie does not notice Elliott's teeth. Hey everyone! It's an IDOL '06 FIRST! Elliott starts out the song by sitting center stage on a chair. This happens a lot from here on out so I thought that if you like to keep track, here's where it happens first this season. The other favorite starting positions are coming in from stage left, coming in from stage right and of course the ever popular, just standing in the middle and not moving until the chorus. I am liking "Knocks Me Off My Feet" although I wonder why no one has picked a song with more boogie in it. The middle is okay but the ending is great. I see that Elliott is getting some advice in the wardrobe department which is good, kind of Miami Vice but it works. Still though...the hair. Do we need to sit down and have a hair talk Elliott? I'm not going to lie, I like you. I like you probably more than I should. I mean, you go from looking like a werewolf to a rat and then to Jabberjaw. And still I LIKE YOU! But the one thing that you have control over...the hair. Please, drop the Flowbee and get to a Supercuts. They are everywhere and pretty reasonably priced, plus they have a level and a ruler so that your bangs will come out straight. Just don't Eff this up for me okay? Randy thinks that this type of song is his comfort zone but wasn't his best performance so far. The audience boos. Shut UP audience! From behind Paula looks like a Bratz bobble head. Simon thinks he should show some originality, like getting a haircut!
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Something new this season, product placement is now prominently located behind the Ryan Secrets post/pre song interview stools. This must mean that there will be a little extra time spent over in Secrets land. Shoe interlude #2! Mandisa's feets are killing her. They are killing me too honey! She asks if she can take her shoes off so Ryan complies and goes where no man except for possibly Star Jones publicist has gone, down to the Payless pumps and unstraps her and then twirls the shoes above and in front of him as if he were calling a bull to charge. I think he even got some air lift off one of the twirls. I am excited to hear her sing tonight because Stevie might be just the forum she needs to open up. She will be singing "Don't You Worry About A Thing" which isn't exactly what I had hoped for but it was an Aretha song so maybe. My problem with her tonight is that she starts out sounding really low but only when she hits the chorus does she make her voice pop. I see the potential but the realization just isn't there. Ooooh, Mandisa looks like a car wash with all that fringe going this way and that. There is just something about seeing an Idol contestant out there stomping around barefoot that leaves me uneasy and begging for someone with windex and a rag to come along. Randy thinks that she is the best so far but still...not her best. Paula just recites something nice that Stevie said in the video. Simon calls it the best so far and disappointingly doesn't call her Mandeezer.
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If Bucky Because of Winn-Dixie Covington could be honest with us, he'd tell us that he has never had or listened to a Stevie Wonder song. What is it with the country folk tonight not ever having had the pleasure of listening to Stevie? Oh, Bucky's favorite artist is Eminem by the way. Just thought you'd like to know in case you want to jot that down, or something. By far, Bucky has chosen the best Stevie song of the night, "Superstition." Grrrrr, I hate to tell you this but so far, his performance is my favorite of the night. Yeah, it might just be the song but he does have fun with it and it sounds a lot like Bo's old stuff from last season. It's just that I can't look at the screen. Bucky's makeover consists of him wearing his hair down like Leif Garrett if he were one of the Three Musketeers. Randy wanted a train wreck I think, but instead got an honest performance, not contrived. The bobble head gives horrible criticism that goes nowhere. Simon points out that Bucky's hair being down reminds him of Jessica Simpson in a Brokeback kind of way. [Please note, I have refrained thus far from using a Brokeback line as such]. But he liked the performance. Bo's family is in the audience. I might be mistaken but I could have sworn they all have Wal-Mart bags full of Sam's choice cola with them.
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It is revealed that Melissa McGhee has been sucking down the olive oil. Shove some leafy greens and croutons down here gullet, give her a nice roll down a hill and it's salad everywhere! In her video clip, Melissa is wearing a gaudy t-shirt that says "Everyone loves a Brunette." Well, a brunette with blond highlights. She is wearing it because I guess that well, Stevie won't be able to tell outright that she has no taste? Or shops at Icing? Oh, she also forgot the lyrics to one of his songs during the rehearsal....um, oooops! She will be singing the much unheard of "Lately." That should win us over! The song doesn't go over too well and I kind of mull around arranging my CD's while she sings. I look back in time to notice that Melissa doesn't end up where she needs to be, she is all the way across the stage and hilariously runs back in the dark to the center in front of the judges. Apparently she forgot the lyrics...again, and Randy calls her out on it. Oh, wait a second! Behind the judges is yet another woman with bee stung lips. Why does this keep happening! It's like I watched a cursed video and now women with collagen laden lips are coming through my TV to get me! LADIES! If your lips begin to have their own face, it's time to stop! Back to Melissa. Paula thinks she did a nice job because it is against her contract to say otherwise. Simon thinks it is her best performance so far regardless of humming in spots where there should have been words.
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Lisa Tucker will sing "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." Nothing much to report from the video clip, she is cute and normal. For being a highly successful amateur anyway. For special effects, Lisa has these dangerous triangles swirling around her that worry me. My unrestrained imagination kicks in and immediately makes it an Indiana Jones film. "Don't step on one Lisa! They're deadly!" I am more impressed with her outfit than I am the song. I haven't seen a half jacket like that since Salt N Pepa days. It's totally 80's with the belt that really doesn't hold anything up. I loved the form over function days of the 80's. Wear six Swatch watches on my left arm? Sure! Two collared Polo shirts at once? Sounds great! Belt that goes over your shirt? Radical! The judges all loved her performance...and she did it with shoes! They also debate over whether it is called the "It" or the "X" factor. Let's just split the difference and call it the "X-It" factor.
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Chicken Little gets the props man! An Idol first, he gets up close and personal with some of the sign holders in the audience. The girls are probably 11 and 6 years old and the sign says something like "Kevin I want to pinch your 'other' cheeks?" Aaaah, they grow up so fast don't they? Kevin will be singing "Part-time Lover" and hilariously says that he tries to put a "Sexy" feeling into it. This was one of my absolute favorite songs to come on the radio when I was a kid. I remember laying in bed at night with the radio under the blankets so it wouldn't make much noise waiting for "Electric Avenue" and this song. Kevin however has just killed it for me. His cute factor has just worn off. I've understood the Kevin appeal for a while but now I'm a-swingin' to the other side. Oddly, the judges are writing my blog for me. First of all, Randy calls out the fact that he is wearing makeup. Ahhh! I was gonna! Then, Paula points out a sign that says "Kevin is my Heaven." Paula, just sit down and keep channeling Doug Henning! When Simon calls Kevin out on the mat for a bad performance, he decides to just go over the cliff with the car by talking back to Simon. First sign of that you have the Justin Guarini virus, talking back to Simon when it is apparent that you are the one smoking crack.
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In case you haven't watched the show before, one of Ryan's favorite places to announce from is the tech booth. Tonight he is wedged between two mix boards. I don't think they pay those guys enough to deal with the likes of him. He introduces Katherine McPhee who will sing "Until you Come Back To Me." Katherine elects to walk in from Stage Left to make her entrance. Katherine is hard to define for me. I think that because she looks like your typical every-Idol, she just keeps slipping my mind...until she sings. The way she handles the stage and the camera make it seem like she has been doing this for a while. The song itself I don't like as much as other things she has attempted but not bad. Randy thought it was hot and Simon says that she reminds him of Kelly Clarkson. Thems big potaters. See, even after all that, I can't find too outstanding to write about her, except that maybe her dress from the waist down looks like a pioneer woman's Sunday best.
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Stand back y'all it's Taylor Hicks doing Stevie Wonder material! If this wasn't right up his alley! During the video I was afraid that Taylor and Stevie might collide there for a moment but I guess everything turned out okay. Taylor will be "Livin' For The City" for our amusement tonight. Your typical Taylor performance but with a few new moves. The big new one is the pivot on both heels while twisting your waist. It's good. This has to be one of the most powerful performances I have seen from this guy. I think finally we are starting to see the effects that a bigger band and a little more leg room can do for a guy like Taylor. There is this very odd non-verbal musical riff halfway through the song but it's not enough to bother the judges. Randy says it was fearless. Simon calls him a drunk dad...in a good way!
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Stevie likens Paris Bennett to the excitement of Fantasia. Okay, A) Stevie got excited over Fantasia? and B) Possibly not the Idol comparison that Paris was looking for. Paris just cracks me up! First off, she looks like a toy version of Lil' Kim in the video clip and I can clearly see the Life Savers candy on her tongue during the rehearsal (it was cherry flavored it looks like) and then she pops back into real time all pretty in pink tonight with her hair bobbed short and key chains for earrings. She will sing "All I Do" by....Stevie Wonder! Her spunky charm from the original auditions is back. Even though Mandisa is a powerhouse singer, Paris does a better job of using her talent than she does tonight. Randy picks up on the same thing that I saw. Paula's head goes boing...boing...boing...Simon splits the show into parts. The first half was just okay and the second half is cookin! Paris gets about three more bars of the song in her post interview...which is odd and kind of unfair but smart in that no one else has thought to do this. Maybe he is like Fantasia!
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Chris Daughtry. Chris, Chris, Chris....You know how you have those water cooler conversations with people about American Idol the next day? Well I have had plenty (trust me, I'm like in need of a larynx transplant) and when it comes to Chris, the conversation usually revolves around two things: Yes, he will win this competition and, what do you think he will do when he gets to a night like...disco night? Well first of all, I hope they ditch Disco night because it's just gross. Secondly, leave it to Chris to answer our question by picking the only Stevie song to be remade by an alternative music group. Chris was oh-so relieved when he found out that "Higher Ground" from the Red Hot Chili Peppers was originally a Stevie Wonder song. Stevie however didn't seem to make the happy face when confronted about this little bit of excitement that Chris brought to him. Anyway, there's the answer to the question, Chris will just opt for the song that is done by someone current. Chris is a powerhouse when he sings, like no one else on the show but this is, umm...a little over the top. The place explodes like impacted bowels into this horrible rock show. I mean, I'm not sure that even the horrible Marilyn Manson concert that I went to (that I swore I would keep secret out of shame) was this bright, loud or bawdy. Okay, maybe I'm being a little harsh but it was a tad distracting with all the crazy 1,000 lights and nothing but red and fire and running going on. I'm sitting there thinking, thank God he went last! Could you imagine going from this into Kellie Pickler? Randy thought he made it his own. Paula says she just sits back and enjoys it each week, but from behind the judges table. Simon pays the ultimate compliment by comparing him to Ruben Studdard...just kidding. He says he could imagine this being a real concert. Oh, it will Simon. On the American Idols Tour '06!!!!
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I'm kind of sad that no one sang "We Are The World" for shits and giggles. I would have liked that. Gasp! Maybe that is the group sing-a-ling-a-ding-dong tomorrow! Hope I didn't spoil anything! Anyway, it is clear that either Chicken Little or....hmmm, Melissa? will be going home tomorrow night. I would like to say Ace since he went first and really didn't do much with his falsetto screech that everyone likes so much but there are like, 800 billion 13 year old girls out there and only one of me, so I'll relegate myself to baring with him for at least another 9 weeks.

3 comments:

coffeygirlb said...

Hey Mike, great recap. Do you notice how "chiken little" always has his hand in a handshake ready position when he sings. It's weird and clearly out of discomfort. I just keep waiting fir him to totally blow it any minute....but he always seems to just barely be hangin on. Also Mandissa scared me too with all that shimmying and swishing around like a voluptuous, uh...washing machine. Sorry that's mean but damn girls got back.

Dar said...

I agree with you Mike, I am so sick of Chicken Little, and also Ace. I was all prepared not to like Ace and then he did a great job on "Father Figure." Being a fair person, I then decided that he had some talent. However, that was the first and only time I have seen it.
And I still have no idea why Bucky is there and Patrick isn't. Speaking of Patrick, his website is www.patrickhall.net
There is nothing on there but his picture right now, but there will be more soon. This week he is in New York working on his CD!

coffeygirlb said...

Awesome Dar, thanks for the update on OUR "American Idol"!! I have never though Ace was anything special at all!