Tuesday, April 10, 2007

American Idol Night 6: Top 8 Perform

It's time once again for that Tuesday night institution (a mental institution, some would say) that we so affectionately call "The Show That Comes On Before House." Okay, some of us call it American Idol, too, but either way, Fox is getting to advertise to us for an hour or two or three or however long we sit mesmerized before we regain enough IQ to remember how the remote works.

Tonight, we will continue the tradition of learning from the experience of others. We all know that the Idols need musical guidance from an artist who is well-traveled, an artist who knows the ropes of the industry, an artist whose butt is roughly the size of Ohio and which roughly resembles the shape of the word "OhiO" as well. Seriously...Jennifer Lopez? If Jennifer Lopez is a Master's Class, then I should be able to obtain a doctorate from listening to Aretha Franklin.

P.S.: If you want to know the kind of bull crap that Jennifer Lopez has in her contract for dressing room requirements, check out my post here

Again, I appreciate Idol FINALLY trying to make itself contemporary, but why pick the shallowest pop divas to model our young muddle-headed hopefuls after? Oh THAT'S riiiiiiight... they have something to promote. Ah, crass commercialism. What would this country be without it? Well, whatever Miss Lopez is selling, it matters not, because nary a penny of this writer's hard earned skrilla is gonna be spent in its direction. However, it should be fun writing around her tonight, especially since I have a moral objection to calling her "J-Lo."

Viva la show!

We come in backstage for the beginning of "Latin Night," and no we do not mean E Pluribus Unum or Carpe Diem. Though it wouldn't help if somebody might Carpe Sanjaya (literally "Seize the Sanjaya") and e pluribus his unum (literally "vote him off.") Time to meet Ricky Minor and the judges three. Seacrest instructs us that this will be, in fact, a spectacular show, and that we will like it or else Brian Dunkleman will pin us to the floor, sit on us, and force us to listen to his full comic routine. Then, he introduces Selena-lite. They go through all of Jennifer "Play My Motherf***ing Song" Lopez's albums, all of which I hate slightly more than genocide. Thankfully they do pay tribute to the movie Selena, which was probably the only thing that Jennifer does that I will even waste my time with. I would've much preferred Shakira for tonight, but what do I know.

The kids, on the other hand, sit around with big goofy smiles on their faces, as though they're about to receive large cones of ice cream and a million dollar check, as Miss Lopez takes them to school on Latin music while babbling on about little to nothing. I couldn't make sense of it. Perhaps it was in Spanish. (Again, not Latin, as the night's theme might suggest.)

Melinda Doolittle is excited to try out Latin music which should be easy enough for her. She's good with that swing and salsa vibe. She freely admits that she is not sexy, even though she's gonna try to be. I don't know ladies and gentlemen, but that black dress is probably as good as she's ever looked. Nice touch on the necklace to minimize that "no neck" problem she's been having. I think that she looks quite fetching tonight. "Sway" is a nice change of pace for her, and she's flawless as usual. I'm not excited by the song, if I'm being honest, but her voice is still beautiful enough to tickle my ears. Toward the end, I find myself starting to get into it. I'd bet all the money in my front pocket (five dollars) that Jennifer Lopez didn't sing the song this well. Melinda, once again, is shocked to the point of catatonia by the fact that people heart her mightily. Randy thinks it was solid, not her best, but he's turned on by Melinda so he gives her props. Paula liked the subtle, sexy quality of it. Simon didn't like it. He babbles something about "personality," as though Melinda hasn't interpreted every single lyric properly this whole entire competition. I agree with him that it wasn't her best, but it wasn't nearly as horrid as he purported it to be. Time to take a sip of some of Paula's happy juice, Simone. Ryan, in the creepiest moment in all of television history, including all of Richard Nixon's speeches, tells Melinda, "thank you, sexy." I feel like I should shower now.

Up next, LaKisha Jones is in the pimp chat spot, and she'll answer B-ham's own Stephanie. The producers pitch one right at her and let her go on and on about how she wants to create a better life for her daughter (while simultaneously running off and leaving her for months at a time while chasing her Hollywood dream. But that's another argument for another time.) Jennifer Lopez and LaKisha prep themselves for the most godless version of Conga I've ever heard. If Gloria Estefan had died in that bus accident, she'd be spinning in her grave right now. I wonder if she might be involuntarily twirling in her chair even now. This is horribly off-key, and wow Lakisha is so anti-sexy that I find myself looking away. I'm afraid that that cleavage might burst through my TV screen, blacken both my eyes, and keep me from writing how much I hate this. Randy thinks it was fun, fails to mention how off-key it was, and calls it "hot," mainly because he's having flashbacks to when his mommy nursed him and the producers really REALLY want to keep this girl. Paula didn't like it any whatsoever, because she's had it with this chick who refuses to take the mentors' advice. Paula calls it safe, which is a weird criticism, but probably valid. Simon doesn't think anyone outside of Lakisha's own cell structure actually enjoyed that. I know I didn't. Simon complimented the dancing, and once the stagehands are able to repair all the scenery that was destroyed by the swaying of that mass, I'm sure everything will return to normal.

We're only two weeks away from "Idol Gives Back," and approximately every celebrity, dead or alive, will of course be appearing. I'm sure they'll digitally edit Elvis Presley in there somewhere. Actually, that would be kinda fun.

Chris Richardson is so white that he's almost clear. Nowhere is that more obvious than when he tries to sing a latin-style song. I feel embarrassed for him. It's like Toby Keith with a mouthful of helium and a clothespin on his nose trying to sing "Living La Vida Loca." Chris is doing the most hideous WASPy version of a Santana song that has ever been done. This is kind of cheating, isn't it? Carlos Santana is latino, but he only played the guitar in this song. It's not really Rob Thomas night is it? Talk about playing it safe! Apparently it's "Close Your Throat and Let Your Nose Do All The Singing" night for Mr. Richardson. This is a wretched wreck of the song, and I'd rather turn off the TV and listen to the real thing. Somebody tell Chris to wake up, because his eyes have involuntarily slammed shut again. What an awful, ridiculous performance. Randy thought it was very very cool. Paula thought it was hot. Why does everybody think he's so sexy? I have been wondering this for weeks now. I mean, the kid looks nothing like Justin Timberlake, who he's been compared to ad nauseum for whatever unknown reason. He looks sort of like someone who just got paroled. Simon liked it because it felt more contemporary. Uh, hello? The song itself is more contemporary. The others are like twenty years old. I'm getting a butt full of Simon's asinine comments tonight. I hope asininity isn't contagious. I also hope asininity is a word.

RoboLegs is on deck. Haley Scarnato is going to sing "Turn the Beat Around." I forget who sang this originally, but I remember Gloria Estefan doing it, and here she goes, spinning in her easy chair again. They're doing the 90's version of it. And here comes the legs. Gosh, I hope she bikini waxed. I'm afraid she'd probably get thrown out of a Hooters for being too indecently dressed. She sure does have a long stride. I'm not saying she has long legs, but her razors have odometers on them. She sounds bland, boring, and no fun at all. This song is completely out of her range. She keeps forgetting where she is supposed to come in, and with those 9 inch heels she has a lot of trouble navigating the stairs. The song is just a bit high for her and her voice cracks a lot. Plus she has all the soul of Pat Boone. Randy found it to be little better than a karaoke performance, and he is just not having it. Paula thinks the competition is all about who gets to have fun up there. Simon points out the hideously blatant fact that she's dressing in as little as possible to keep the votes coming in. Everybody else got that a long time ago. Truly, the only thing keeping her alive is that she's whoring us all out with her performance. I'm not saying that Haley is prostituting herself, but what do you call it when you sell your body for money or fame?

The guys are two for two in aping the guys who did duets with Santana. This time Phil Stacey will be the Product G & B and sing "Maria Maria." She may remind him of a west side story, but Phil reminds me of a colon polyp. Which may be what he has, based on the way he's sitting on that stool. Maybe we can blame the guitar player for screwing up the guitar solo. It made me clench a bit too. These vocals are nowhere near what Phil can do. I don't know why he doesn't just cut loose. Unlike Haley, Phil can actually survive on his voice--not his looks--so why not just amaze me? Unfortunately, it's not happening tonight. It doesn't help that his voice broke completely on that last line. Randy was bored with it. Paula looks completely trashed, and her happy juice has kicked in mightily. Simon thought it was unoriginal. Noting the Grim Reaper waiting patiently over Phil's shoulder, Simon also calls it lifeless, which describes Phil perfectly, and Phil wisely avoids sassing him back. Phil tells us an adorable story about his daughter and her stuffed animal, which she, at the grand old age of six months, personally named Simon Cow. Because not only can she now talk, she also has an adult wit. Don't you just hate people who anthropomorphize their own children way past their actual point of maturity? Still, don't vote Phil off. I need him to outlast Haley and Sunny J.

Someone asks Jordin Sparks which theme she would pick, and now I officially love her, because she picked 80's music. I love you, Jordin. Will you go to the prom with me? She's going to sing Gloria Estefan's "The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," because, y'know, Gloria Estefan and Carlos Santana are apparently the only two Latino musicians. It's a fun song, and I like the way Jordin has fun with it. Unfortunately, I don't think this is a very solid performance. She's just a touch behind the band on the beat, and I am finding all but this last part to be just a bit karaoke. I do like that she's doing her own "Oh-Ay-Oy's." That's gonna be in my head for the next few hours. Throw lots of votes Jordin's way, but put more weight on past performances. Randy thought it was the "Yo Factor." I've given up on understanding what he's talking about. Paula wants to surround us all with flowers, rainbows and puppies. Simon doesn't think it was progressive enough, whatever that means, and he wasn't thrilled. The look on his face sort of says "who put buttermilk in my vodka flask?"

Blake Lewis is doing Marc Anthony's "I Need to Know," which, as Latin songs go, is slightly less annoying than flesh-eating bacteria. Apparently Blake borrowed from Phil's hat collection, which he should absolutely be forbidden from doing ever again, even if it's in the privacy of his own home. With the red shirt and white pants, I think he accidentally made himself look like Gilligan. Vocally, I suppose this is okay. It's a bit boring. It's not the worst performance of the night, and since Blake is the only guy that I even still sort of halfway like, I suppose I can live through it. Still, I want more punch. I sort of miss the old Blake, even though this one is talented and slick. Randy thinks it's totally hot. Paula thinks it was very smart (which she would refer to as "safe" in a derogatory way for any other contestant that she didn't like.) Simon thought it was his best performance ever. Huh.

Closing out the show...Sanjaya. Dear goodness. I had almost forgotten about him. For a moment, Idol was starting to be fun again. Oh how thou hast torn my illusions apart, oh wretched Seacrest!

Gosh, I miss Gina. I just realized that. Actually Priscilla realized it for me, but there's definitely a void in the show tonight. Don't be a stranger, Gina, ok?

Sanjaya Malakar chose... wait, what? "Besame Mucho"??????? Wow. Gutsy choice. And gutsy move stealing Shirley Temple's hairstyle. For some reason when I hear this song, I remember Leslie Nielsen singing it in The Naked Gun, and I giggle a bit. Oh, I loathe myself for saying this... This ain't half bad. UGH!!!! Hit me, somebody! No me gusta Sanjaya, pero me gusta la cancion mucho!! Holy cow. I actually think that he should go through to the next week now. Bye, Haley! He just sent you home. Randy liked it, Paula thought it was nice, and Simon couldn't understand a word of it. Duh, Simon...Espanol? Not the native tongue of the British Isles, even if it is the official language of California. Simon thought it wasn't horrible, though, no matter how much he wants this kid to go home.

Who leaves tonight? Anybody's guess really. (Hint: Haley.) The bottom three will definitely be Chris, Haley, and Phil. See ya when that all goes down!

P.S. Jordin was on beat during the video recap. Vote for her based on her performance at the dress rehearsal!


At 6:48 AM, Anonymous smarmydharma said...

I wondered how the producers (or whoever) had time to pick a clip for the recap at the end of each show...a recap void of bad singing. Now I know. Thanks JD, your blog not only makes me laugh until I scare the cat by almost landing on it when I fall out of my chair but is educational too!

Did anyone else notice the camera flash the Howard Stern fans after SanJ's (almost really good) performance?

At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Cleo said...

Hey JD,

I wrote a recap of last night's show on my own blog (what can I say, I was bored), so I'm not gonna go into what I liked and didn't like here, except to say that I liked your recap as usual.

To address a couple of points you made:

Chris Richardson might not look like Justin Timberlake, but he is trying so hard to be him. He even wears a bracelet that says "WWJTD" (What Would Justin Timberlake Do). I am starting to dislike Justin -- methinks he's gettin' too big for his britches -- but I would still like to see him kick Chris's arse in a cage match.

Phil Stacey has two kids: the one who was born while he was busy auditioning for Idol (ugh), and one a couple of years older. I'm sure it's the older one who dubbed her toy "Simon Cow". It's too bad Papa isn't as cute as that story. If he was, he just might not go home this week. As it is, his bad vocal + bad looks will get trumped by Haley's bad vocal + good looks, and he will go home while Haley stays. That's what I think anyway.

At 1:33 PM, Blogger bad kitty said...

Your recaps always crack me up - even when I disagree with you (which seldom happens anyway...I just have more Blake love than you do). And I had pretty much the exact same reaction to Sanjaya's performance last night...OMG, that was actually good! Don't tell anyone I liked it, though, ok?

Wouldn't it be hilarious if Sanjaya became a Latin pop star?

I miss Gina, too.

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Smitty said...

Asininity is so totally a word.

At 1:12 AM, Anonymous artslvr said...

"I'm not saying she has long legs, but her razors have odometers on them."

You always have plenty of excellent lines, but that one gave me a good chuckle.

I too thought Sanjaya's performance was pretty good. His voice had a nice tone, and he conveyed the right passionate emotion. I'll take that over a lifeless performance. Goodness, now that I said those words, I feel a strong breeze sending a chill through my open mind. BRRRRR! Shudder. Sanjaya.


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