Tuesday, March 21, 2006

American Idol 03/21/06 - It's Like We're In The Fifties-ish!

Ryan Secrets chooses a lady in an opposite-of-trendy red leather jacket to stand next to tonight during the intro. The camera's glare is too much for her to withstand so she eerily creaks her head sideways toward the camera. I give her credit for not waving to it like it's a supreme being with the ability to dispense McGriddles but she creeps me out with her sharp toothy grimace. Kathy Bates?
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I feel like Idol has finally gotten under way tonight. When the camera pans across the audience it looks like a high school science fair with reams of cardboard signs floating around like little amoebas. Everything from "Pick Pickler" to "Thank God there is only one 'McGirl' now." Where Ryan was midway up in the audience a moment ago, he is now ego-tripping by coming in from behind the giant video orb. I am not quite sure how he does it but the 7 second delay must be taken into consideration. Either way there is hustle there. How odd it must look for him to do the promo then drop mic and ruuuuuuun up the steps of the stage and then off to the side and around the back of the screen just in time for the animated Idol intro to finish. People, the things you must be able to see if you are lucky enough to get tickets to one of these shows. I can only dream about it.
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Tonight's theme is songs from the 50's. Randy thinks that these songs might be easier not have as many runs and stuff. I don't know about you but most of these crusty old ditties are way past their expiration date and give me the runs quite a lot, if you know what I mean. Paula thinks that they should be quite good (shocking) considering the man with whom they have been working with, she drips with intrigue. Well then, just who is this sage? Just who could American Idol get that will make the children look at with both awe and inspiration but at the same time say "who the hell is that guy?!"
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This year's prerequisite scary old guy is former bath house pianist and plastic surgery mensch Barry Manilow. Right off the bat we learn that Barry's fans are called Fanilows which make me want to never fall into this category as the word reminds me of part of the female reproductive system. Also, that scratching sound? That's would be Barry's nails scraping the bottom of the barrel by chucking out a Greatest Songs of the Fifties album. Oh, and he has a show in Vegas now. Mix those two things together and consider this his Branson audition.
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The kids all got to visit Barry's show in Las Vegas where he put some hurtin' on their usually dull arrangements with varying degrees of success. Mandiesel is the first to show tonight singing "I Don't Hurt Anymore" by Diana Washington. The banter between Mandi and Barry is just chock full of strange double entendre. Well, probably not but I feel awkward when Mandisa talks about the problems she will have at "having a big ending." Barry then says he wants her to "start big and end big." There are I think two other times that the conversation goes into big ends. Mandizzle has got her hair did and her makeup is very beautiful tonight but the poor thing has apparently ripped right through the sleeves of her dress exposing her arms. When I think Fifties, I am not picturing this song that she is singing, it is like some old jazzy song you would have heard in a brothel way back in the old times. Like, before Fifties. I love Mandisa's voice but the song just hurts her tonight although she goes for broke at the finish and definitely has a big end, just like Barry planned. Oh, and you can see the throat lozenge stain on her tongue. It was orange. Randy likes the classy tone of the song. I thought at first, by the way he was acting, that he wasn't liking it much but Randy is kind of like that. He's like "Aaaah, I get paid either way." There is a sign that says "Go ManDiva." Paula is from the fifties apparently as she says that Mandisel "took her back there." Watch out everyone, she has to hit 88 mph to re-enter the current year! Simon thought it was sexy.... SEXY! During the post-song interview, we are forced to take a moment and focus on her feets. Again. As if last week wasn't bad enough. What are we doing here each week? Why let everyone know that the poor girl's feet cannot take the strain of all that jewelry and tussled hair? The shot of the feet is a close-up actually in case you missed it. Ryan Secrets steals yet another slogan from someone, this time from the audience by calling her ManDiva, which we just saw on a sign only mere minutes ago. First it was the Chicken Little moniker he stole from me and now this.
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I wonder what serene little Barry is going to do when Bucky Baloney n' Cheez-It Covington comes up in his workspace with his Coon dog manners? Either the Botox was freshly administered or he actually can tolerate Bucky because Barry doesn't flinch once. Not sure if Barry was up or down wind at this point. Bucky will be singing "Oh Boy" from Buddy Holly. It's a kind of rock-a-billy song so Bucky should have no problem sliding into some sort of safe haven with this one, except that it is awful! He is totally phoning this one in...using a phone card. I see that his hair down again tonight and I notice that it is not dissimilar from Ace's man perm. There is a shot of Bucky's family. Ha! His little sister reminds me of a nerdier Laura Ingals Wilder. Randy likes the song overall. Paula just doesn't want to give any criticism so she asks what it was like working with Barry Manilow, to which Bucky says "Well you knooow...bah bup hab hup buhp bah..." Simon calls Bucky out for completely sucking this performance through a straw. Of course everyone boos and of course Laura Ingals Covington is prominently seated behind Simon and cups a "boo" right at Simon. Direct hit!
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Paris, who I believe speaks in a manly baritone in real life, squeaks her way into our hearts by telling us that the Fifties were a looong time ago but she has always loved "Fever" by Peggy Lee. For coaching, Barry discusses the difference being "cool" and being "hot." Huh? Peggy was "cool" but he thinks Paris will come in and misinterpret the song as trying to be "hot." I'm not sure that Peggy Lee was herself "cool," nor that I consider Paris Bennett to be "hot." So there. These kids have no clue what the 1950's looked like. To me, Paris is decked out like she is in Porgy and Bess, which was set in the 1930's. But one thing Paris does is come out stylin' regardless of its intent. The song sounds exactly like I thought it would sound with Paris doing vocals except not as show stopping or electric as was the first time I heard her croon a jazzy number. Maybe it's just me. Maybe my ears are out of tune. But my eyes aren't! Look everyone! It's Constantine Maroulisssss sitting, holding hands with Ryan Cabrera. When did they start dating? There is a sign that says "There's A New Paris In Town." Oh, I get it. Wait, does the other Paris live in Los Angeles? Maybe? I think the judges liked her performance. Let's go with that, yeah.
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Sammy, a little girl from the audience that Ryan scars for life, helps demonstrate texting on Ryan's new SLVR phone. It has iTunes built in. I was waiting for either "I Feel Pretty" to come up while Sammy held the phone or for her to accidentally press Ryan's address book button and mistakenly call someone from his hottie list. I can imagine a forelorned Brian Dunkleman on the other end going "hello?....hello?"
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Let the excitement commence! It's Chris Daughtry! Only Chris could make me hope that something exciting can come out of songs of the Fifties week. Interestingly he has chosen "I Walk The Line" by Johnny Cash. Okay, I love Chris but the boy just can't seem to get out of the Accessories department of Hot Topic, at least he makes their gothcentric fashions work for him since this is of course a tribute to the "man in black." I hope he doesn't trip on the trucker wallet chain though. The new arrangement of this song makes me relieved that he didn't
pick it because of the recent fascination with all things Johnny Cash and the new biopic. No. Because it is just a kick ass song! I want to say that there is usually a difference between real rock and TV rock. I keep thinking that anyone coming on American Idol saying that they are a "rocker" is just going to get up there and turn into a complete Sugar Ray knock-off but this is way beyond anything that I expected. Randy doesn't think that its the best vocal from him but he too notices the unique song arrangement. Paula all but says that he should win because he should already be on tour. Simon respects the fact that he is the only contestant so far that has failed to compromise. All this praise, Secrets is excited to get over to Chris to congratulate him. Everyone drink! Ryan pinches an inch!
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Katherine McPhee reminds me of one of those girls that always has something to bitch about. She just has that face! She's the person who would weigh you down in like, The Amazing Race or something. Anyway, before her song (she is the chosen pre-song interview contestant this week) she calls Simon out for forgetting her name in some rubbish interview he did the day before. I think we get a shot of Simon's squeeze, she's pretty! Kat will be singing "Come Rain or Come Shine" by Ella Fitzgerald. She tells us that she will have a secret someone in mind when she sings this tonight (put up your mind shields now!). I'll bet you anything that it's Chris Daughtry. Another bluesy number that sounds like it is straight out of some gin joint and again not a song I would associate with the Fifties but I'm sure it is. The blocking for this song is strange and neurotic. It is like she is wandering around her bedroom stopping to sort her socks or press her Wednesday panties or something. She is literally just walking in a circle. Someone calling themselves the "A.C.T.S. from Concord Mass" like Kat. I assume that it might be her birthday today according to two other signs. Or maybe not. Randy didn't like the vocal performance as well as past weeks but he gave the standard response of "you worked it out." Does he say this for everything? Like to his wife or the guy at the car wash? Paula is Farfegnugen! Simon thinks that she turned into a star tonight. I don't see it but okay. I guess that if there is a niche for down tempo songstresses with mild O.C.D. then Hell yes!
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Commercial break. Oh God! It's the "pink in the sink" commercial from Colgate Total!!! Please, if you have pink in the sink, seek help.
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Buddy Holly gets another go tonight with "Not Fade Away" performed by Taylor Hicks. Trying to either freak or impress everyone that he comes in contact with, Taylor walks into the studio to greet Barry by singing "Mandy" apparently either in tune or out of tune. Not sure as Barry's comment to him was a simple "in tune!" which was either a command or a compliment. Taylor has gone Easter Sunday for his pastel suit tonight which isn't a bad mix with his gray hair and uneven frame. The performance isn't as radical as you usually see with Taylor but ladies and gentlemen, an Idol first for this season! Taylor uses the Dawg run behind the judges to get a big audience response. This little sock hop ditty goes nowhere fast if you are a Taylor fan. Except for the dancing, it was boring and he was almost whispering part of they song. Randy says he "worked it out." Paula remembers how everyone danced to this in the 1950's which is a comment that has turned from mildly amusing before to somewhat cause for concern. NASA, please check the security of all experiments utilizing the Flux Capacitor. Simon massages his breasts and then gives Taylor the only bad review of the judges. I notice the little green lighter in his hands. Hmmm, must be time for a commercial break! I agree with Simon that this was probably not a great performance for anyone who was catching Taylor for the first time. He should have probably chosen "Tootie Fruity."
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Lisa Tucker, the Annie of the group, is going to be singing "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" because it is ambitious and she is bubbly and precocious. When she sings, it is like the volume is going in and out of my TV but I think it is really just her voice. I think little Lisa will find her in the bottom three again this week my friends. Randy thinks it is just alright. Paula thinks it is all about the youthfulness or course and not about hitting the notes. Simon splits her in half with an axe to spare her the pain of tomorrow.
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Kevin Covais has lead a very charmed life. This little dude, has the admiration of tweens and yentas everywhere and has stood alongside Stevie Freaking Wonder. Now, he gets to sing a song from the 1950's and woo even another demo...the baby boomers! He will be singing "When I Fall In Love" which is Josh Grobin-ish enough for him to do that bravado thing he does with his voice. He does the stage squat thing to start out with, which if you are not aware is one of the four cardinal opening moves. We talked about the rest of those a week or so ago. I just really don't know what to think. I mean, I love Kevin because he represents what "shouldn't" be happening in the Top 12 but there's that shakey bravado thing that is starting to grate on me. Still, he is better than Bucky! Randy loves it. Hey everyone! Jasmine Trias in da house! Paula says he did another good job tonight. Simon thinks that his audience will love that version of the song. Simon at least shows some restraint tonight instead of trashing him.
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Elliott Yamin looks almost normal except for that ridoncluous tie he is wearing. Also, something is going on with the facial hair but I don't have the time lapse camera set up for Elliott so I can't tell what animal he is becoming now. I think the sideburns are gone and he is going for a chin-only goatee. Not sure. Elliott has chosen "Teach Me Tonight" and I have to give him props for calling Barry a sissy windbag. Well, not really but Elliott tells Ryan that he has never been a fan of Barry Manilow's. I think he just remembers all too well the fiasco of Bobby Bennett and "Copacabana." The bangs are still not even but they have been Dippity Dooed enough to make it look a little more asymmetrical on purpose. Gasp! The animated corpse of Julia Damato masquerading as Lindsey Cardinale is right there!! There in the audience!! Quick, someone get a camera. Randy says (shock) that he "worked it out." Paula Hallmarks him an "You Can Do IT!" card. Simon gives the first straight out compliment tonight.
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Kellie Pickler makes every night a country night. The 50's were a great courtship of pop music and country crooning and probably the queen of the them all was Patsy Cline who Kellie has picked to sing tonight. "Walking After Midnight" was one of my sister's favorite songs growing up and if you have never seen Sweet Dreams, it is one hell of a movie! Oddly, Barry Manilow had never heard a Patsy Cline song up until now. Please sister, whatever. Kellie does her thing with flare and it must be every country girl's dream come true to be able to sing a Patsy Cline tune on stage at the Grand ole' Opry...wait, I'm slipping into verse from the movie! Aaaah! Now the Hicks expressway has been opened, it is free for all to use so Kellie take a trip around the audience. At the end of the song, the mic in Kellie's boobs make everything so loud and rustley. Then, because she doesn't know she is providing all this feedback, she jumps up and down three times and exactly three times there is this awful tapping sound. Hilarious. The judges all notice it and never say anything but Randy giggles at the whole ordeal. There is a sign in the audience of a pickle with her face on it. Now why didn't you think of that! Another sign says "Pick Pickler, we want more minks." Which I love because they didn't take the time to Google "naughty little minx" like I did which would have told them that the way they spelled it is exactly the way that Kellie misinterpreted his comment in the first place. Or maybe that was their point. Wait, what just happened? Did I get so superior that I came full circle and became an retarded ass?
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Lastly we have Ace who either had great fortune visit him or cried like a baby because he went first last week and almost got kicked off. He will be singing "In The still of the Night." It is shocking...shocking to me that he didn't go for brown nose points and sing "Unchained Melody" as it is well known to be Simon's favorite song ever. Ace gets a new arrangement on "In the Still of the Night" that is a little more jazzy which worried Barry at first but once he hears it or better yet, gets sucked into Ace's gaze, is just fine with how it sounds. What happens next baffles me. I see a very orchestrated, by-the-numbers "good" performance. Oh, I'm not saying that the boy can't put on a show, but it's just the fact that it is all so calculated makes me want to Jihad. Let me demonstrate: 00:05, Ace tries to smirk slyly for the camera but comes off looking like a mini stroke. Then at 00:40, because the lyrics call for it, he gives us the no-no finger telling us not to..."go." This move is acceptable in normal circumstances but here it is just cloying as he gives us the no-no finger very sloooowly back and forth. 01:20, he clutches his chest, it's all so precious. 01:45, the glasses hanging from his belt are kind of stupid. 02:15, (or whenever the damn thing ended) his big falsetto ending is supposed to shock and amaze and wake the dead or something but instead it feels like someone just put a period at the end of a sentence. It just seems so "placed" and did not work its way into the song on its own merit. Oh! 02:18, I expected the pout at the end. It's like getting a fortune cookie with your Chinese Take-Out. You just expect it.
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Okay, there you have it! Tomorrow night we get to hear Barry Manilow either schill his new fifties album (goody) or flame out and sing "Copacabana" like it's supposed to be sang. I have a feeling it's goodbye time for either Bucky or Lisa.

2 comments:

TripAway2Day said...

Props to you for including the Brini Maxwell "Now why didn't you think of that?" quote!

Note: I think you mean "vibrato", not "bravado"...

...constructive?

betamike said...

Thanks for the correction Chris. Vibrato, bravado...mulato, I need help with my musical terminology.