Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Only two weeks left in the competition and it's down to the wire. A shocking elimination last week has left Chris fans scurrying around the internet firing off one inane petition after another, as if something like this hasn't happened before. I guess that just goes to show how much we get sucked in by our televisions; we think what goes on there will actually be relevant even a month from now.

I find it amazing how much hatred is spouted at random people on the multitude of A.I. message boards and forums out there because two people who don't know each other and might otherwise be great friends disagree on their favorite contestants. You'd think people were arguing over whether socialism works as a governmental philosophy or not.

But we love our Idol, and for now it's fun. So let's get on with it!

(live blogging, keep refreshing!!)

It's time to begin! Only four more episodes to go before we find out who will be crowned this year's American Idol! And then I'm going on vacation. Seriously.

Ryan tells us that this is where it gets serious, as though everybody has been slacking off the whole time. Oh...wait... well... he does have a point. Anyway, if you haven't already guessed, "THIS....izzzz... American Idol!" Seacresty-boy is all about the enunciation.

And so now he's magically teleported up to the stage and is totally ruining the vertical hold on my TV with his white tie. He slanders us mercilessly for not voting for Chris and then further tortures us by introducing us to Randy, not introducing us to Paula, and then cueing Randy to moo, er boo, at Simon. Clive Davis is back on the show, and he got to pick out the Idol's first performances tonight. We go through a litany of artists that Clive signed. Some of them are good, some of them he should be flogged for. I don't know how Maroon 5 sneaked their way onto the list of greats. So basically Clive is responsible for all the classic rock we love and all the pop tripe that we hate.

Clive chose "Open Arms," one of my favorite songs, for Elliott Yamin. Clive takes off his oxygen tank and has a "Come to Jesus" talk with Elliott, imploring him to rock it out. Small chance of that, as Elliott goes the Lite-FM route on "Open Arms." I'm just waiting for Randy to tell us that he recorded this song with Mariah. Elliott sounds okay, but this is just not what this song should sound like. I was listening for the signature guitar lick, which is completely missing. Not Elliott's fault, but it would've been nice. Elliott sang it decently, and Leeza Gibbons seems to think so too, but it just didn't pack the punch that he did last week. Randy reminds us all that he was in Journey for about five minutes when they needed a bass player, which I had forgotten. He's not all that impressed with Elliott tonight. Paula thinks he did a great job and she gushes all over the place to the point where Simon needs to towel off. Simon thinks Elliott can do better than that and that he should loosen up. Simon is right. Ryan comes straight out of the Church of Mandisa and asks Elliott if he belieeeeeeves he can make the finals. Elliott looks a bit down-trodden.

After the break, the other two bozos who I don't care about...


Katharine McPhee has been given the task of singing "I Believe I Can Fly" which is the most tired song in the whole entire world. Seriously, Rip Van Winkle took one look at that song and was impressed. Kat is looking forward to soaring, though I might suggest a longer skirt if she's going to become airborne. The problem with this song is that it is so overused in talent shows, and it just sounds like a talent show song, not something you would choose to really shine on. And shine Katharine does not. Thankfully, this is a song that she's okay to smile with. There's a long portion of the song where she's not singing, and she just stands there looking gobsmacked, as if she doesn't know where to come in. She comes in awkwardly, and the rest of it is just her trying to do runs, melismas, and whatever else. Tossing her hair and all that rot. It didn't work for me at all. It was nasal, almost to the point of Kellie Pickler running up on stage waving a snot rag. Randy starts off saying she looks amazing, which is his cue that he's about to knock a knot on her noggin'. Randy doesn't think she was up to the task. Paula can't say what she wants to say, because her neural synapses are no longer firing. Kat gives her a "will-you-hurry-up??" look. Kat whines to the judges that they've been too hard on her the last couple of weeks, and NO POINTS FOR WHINERS. Simon thinks Kat is being treated unfairly, and that the song was too recognizable for her, which is sort of a back-handed compliment. Ryan and Randy get into it, and Randy looks genuinely cheesed off.

Taylor Hicks gets to do Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark." The only thing that will make me like this is if Courteney Cox gets up on stage and dances. Taylor thanks Clive for personally calling Bruce to get permission to do the song, because apparently Bruce has the class not to let his songs routinely get wrecked on Idol's stage. Taylor's performance of it is a hack job, for sure. Granted, his vocals are a near match for Bruce Springsteen, but that's only because Bruce's voice is completely thrashed to begin with. You sort of like a Springsteen song for the tune and the style, not necessarily because Bruce has pipes. Taylor gets inane with it and drags Paula out of the judges' section, getting her up on the risers to dance, and then abandoning her like her last pill dealer to run back on stage. Randy compliments Taylor on his STAGE PRESENCE only, not vocals. Paula, of course, had fun. Taylor says "soul patrol" again. Simon thinks his performance paled in comparison to the original. Paula cackles and slobbers all over Simon, and it appears that the vodka is flowing tonight already. Taylor keeps shouting "soul patrol," and I am just this side of hating him.

NOTE: Any of you dorks out there who think Taylor is truly "soul" (and not just a one-dimensional hack), please come down to Memphis, and I will show you what real soul is all about.

After the commercials, apparently the contestants will perform two more songs apiece...


The judges, Seacrest, and two random cameramen are all huddled together in one big love-in.

Governor Wilder from Virginia gets to tell Elliott Yamin that he gets to perform "What You Won't Do For Love" as selected by Paula Abdul. I love this song. Paula keeps blabbering on, killing any effective segue that Ryan might have made. Elliott comes out trying to get that blue-eyed soul working. It's sort of okay, but I'm still missing something out of it. Still, all together, I'm enjoying it, and I appreciate the feeling he is putting into it. I find that he's really connecting with the lyrics. Randy correctly feels that Elliott was a little bit sharp, and I think maybe that's what was bothering me earlier. Paula thinks it was a good performance. Simon likes it quite well also. Yaminions, you better vote hard this week!

Mayor LonglastnameIcan'tspell tells Katharine McPhee that she gets to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," as chosen by Simon Cowell. Wow, didn't see that one coming! This may be the first Judy Garland song sung on the show. Kat starts out on the floor again. Noooooo, Kat, noooooo. Sounds like this is going to be another acapella performance. About time someone did this. Oh well, never mind, there's the music. Get up, Kat, get up, please!! Vocally, I think she's made some strides forward though, and her singing is really pretty now that she's understating it and not shouting to the rafters. Katharine really does well as a sultry lounge-type singer. Oh please don't lay down, Kat...whew! What she really needed for this performance is a slinky red sequined dress and a grand piano to sit on top of. Excellent vocal with a bit of a lackluster stage presence. There's the McDad with the tears streaming down his face. Randy thinks it was the best vocal performance of the evening. Paula gives her a standing O and spills her rum and Coke all over the place. Simon also thinks it was the single best performance of the competition. Kat is all kinds of happy that she's not getting criticism this time around. It's about time she showed us what she's all about!

After the break, Randy's pick for Fat-Face...


Governor Riley of Alabama reads Randy's missive, which starts out, and I quote, "Yo." Governor is in the Dogg Pound for life. Randy picks out Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful" for Taylor Hicks. Way to choose another vocalist with a questionable voice so that Taylor can really sound good in comparison. Taylor's eye movements look so spastic, and it's obvious he's just acting really badly and not connecting with the song on any level. He puts on this look as though he's a petulant child who just got disciplined for drawing on the walls with crayons. The falsetto "woo" is way off and just painful. I cannot find anything to like about this karaoke performance, and that's just what it is. From his I-just-had-a-stroke posturing to his half-hearted vocals, this one just stunk. Randy thinks he did the song proud. Taylor doesn't look like he believes it. Paula says he's a star. Simon thinks it was his best performance ever. If you don't believe that the judges want him to win, I submit this comment into evidence. Gee, do I have the wrong audio on? Taylor, who thought it sucked, is happy to have gotten by with something and continues to shout "soul patrol."

After the break, the last round...


Elliott Yamin is going to do another Donnie Hathaway song. Seacrest says it's the last chance for him to win us over, as though somehow he knows that Elliott won't be here next week. Elliott is poorly mic'ed during this number, and the sound mix just seems off. I like his performance, though, even though he sounds just the slightest bit subdued by the band. During the bridge, when the band stops playing a bit, you can tell a huge difference. He sounds great, and I like this song quite a bit. He misses the heck out of that high note though when his voice breaks. Otherwise, that was hot. Zac Efron is in the audience, so Hannah wipe that drool off your chin. Randy and Paula think that we can't connect with a song that wasn't recorded by a top 40 artist. They're wrong. Some of us actually listen to other music than the pop pablum that radio tries to push on us day after day, and a great many of us can appreciate the blues or any other forms of music, not just some Justin Timberlake tripe. Simon thinks that his songs won't carry him through to the next round (whoa, de-pimp!) and Seacrest rushes through his numbers. I hope that the judges are thwarted and Elliott goes through.

Katharine McPhee takes a page from the Book of Elliott and sings a blues song. She doesn't want to be compared to contemporary artists, mainly because she's not as good as them, but we'll see how well a black dress and hooker boots treat her. Sorry, Kat, but you don't have pipes of a blues/r&b siren. Diva she ain't. She smiles all the way through a BLUES song, y'all. A FRIGGIN' BLUES SONG. You have the blues, Kat. You ain't supposed to be SMILING!!! Connect with the song would you???? Randy thinks this was okay, but that Kat is no Ella. Paula thinks her other song was better, but y'know what, you still did a great job. Yay Paula, now go take your meds. Simon thinks this was a bad song to end on. Kat sneers at Simon and dismisses him with an "OK" before prancing over to Ryan, hoping to woo the camera a little bit more before being voted off tonight.

After the break, the Chosen One gets the coveted last spot. You're crazy if you think this thing isn't slanted toward him...


Taylor Hicks picked "Try a Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding. He's singing it for the "Soul Patrol." Barf. Hurl. Yuck. I love Otis, and you sir are not Otis. The over-glorified wedding singer takes his spastic self to the stage and tries to squeeze life right out of his butt cheeks and get the crowd rockin'. He manages to get Paula to dance again, but an upbeat version of "Row Row Row Your Boat" would get that one up and shaking her groove thing. Taylor ends it with some shouting, and blah blah blah. You Taylor fans will hate me, and you other fans will love me, but I'm done with him. Randy dubs Taylor "Have-a-Good-Time-Funky-Taylor." Which is easier to say than Soul Patrol. Paula loves it. Simon thought the ending was a mess, but he is confident Taylor will be in the finals, since it's been rigged that way from the beginning. Taylor repeatedly shouts "soul patrol" and at this point, I just wish a small meteorite would crash through the ceiling and hit him square in the jaw.

Well, how will it go?


Save a spot for Kat or Elliott on the next bus home. It would be nice to see a surprise vote for Taylor to go home, but what are the chances?

See you tomorrow night!


At 8:14 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

simon said today in an interview that he thought taylor would win... hmmmm.

At 8:26 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

I've thought Taylor would win from day one. And I could live with it because he is about as UN-Carrie Underwood as you can get. However, at risk of sounding like all the 14 year olds on the other boards, I don't think they could have slanted this more away from Elliott tonight if they'd tried. He goes first, Clive "I'm a music god" Davis chooses Open Arms of all things for him to sing? And the crappy "your mom will be proud anyway" comment from Simon?? Feh.

At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JD, I love your recaps - but even as an ELLIOT fan - I mean I'm on the E train - I have to admit. Taylor was AMAZING - dude, clean your ears

At 8:53 PM, Blogger Hannah said...

"Zac Efron is in the audience, so Hannah wipe that drool off your chin."
i resent that. lol

and tonight guess what happened...it didn't tape. darn!

At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know, J.D. I love your writing and your blog, but I just don't get your "hatred" for Taylor.

You even mention the hateful remarks spewed on the AI boards, but then you do a bit of "spewing" yourself!
(a meteorite crashing through and smashing into him!!)

Your comments regarding TH just don't match up with the intelligent, witty writing I've come to expect from "Musical Ramblings". They seem to be way "over the top".

At 10:07 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

...says a Taylor fan. Shocker.

In case you hadn't noticed, I spared no mercy for any of the contestants this year :) Sorry you didn't like it! But just because you like Taylor doesn't make my criticisms any less valid.

At 11:44 PM, Blogger Kat said...

Taylor invites the immature rantings of otherwise intelligent people! My husband and I were literally about to throw things at the tv to get him to shut up. Obviously Taylor doesn't care about any *other* fans so while he may sing well and entertain w/the songs, it has become more difficult to respect him personally.

JD were you serious about the Judy Garland comment? (or sarcastic?) Kimberley Locke did SOtR in season 2 and it was one of her 'signature' songs; as overused as it is, it literally blew me away live.

At 2:18 AM, Blogger bad kitty said...

Yeah, what was up with those random cameramen gathering 'round Ryan and the judges??? That was weird.

Antonio Villaraigosa is the mayor of Los Angeles.

And what on earth was up with Taylor when he was singing "You are so Beautiful"? Seriously, his facial expressions made him look like he was about to puke!!! My entire family was cracking up over this one.

Oh, and why on earth was Fuel in the audience?

At 6:47 AM, Anonymous Ann Handley said...

JD -- You have a gift for play-by-play commentary...I laughed at loud at this post! Taylor as Stroke Victim...I will never look at his mug the same again!

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Stacy said...

FYI about the cameramen surrounding Seacrest - it was because they represented 'hitting the road' with the Idols to go back to their hometowns. That scene opened up the footage of all the visits to their home states.

Of course, none of the actual Idol crew traveled with the singers. They just used footage from local Fox affiliates. Fox 6 from Birmingham provided the footage for Taylor.


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