Did you notice that they call the male contestants “Men” now instead of “Boys?” With the average age skyrocketing up, I suppose it makes sense. After all, IDOL is quickly becoming the desperate last ditch haven for failed musicians approaching their 30s.
I could probably save myself an awful lot of typing right now and write, “They all sucked” and be done with it. Thankfully, there are various shades of suckage to deal with here, so they’ll all get a writeup.
Paula got her hair done for the show. I think she was inspired by Britney Spears’ wig.
Ryan wore a delightful ensemble of jeans with a vest. And you thought that style went out after the second season of FRIENDS. Silly you.
Rudy Cardenas, 28, started out the night with “Free Ride.” I think that’s the name of the song. I had some serious problems with song titles last night. Of the songs I did recognize, I couldn’t give you the exact title for half of them. And IDOL doesn’t flash them up on the screen or introduce them properly yet. There were some songs I vaguely recognized, and one or two I’ve flat out never heard before. If they’re current songs, then it appears I’m not missing much. I had to look up a couple for the sake of this writeup. Back to Rudy: He lists his occupation as professional musician, and it’s clear he’s very comfortable on stage. He had good presence, and danced around very easily. But aside from a little shouting at a couple lyrics in the song, nothing stood out about him. Going first, he’s in danger of being forgotten and getting no votes after a two hour IDOL marathon episode.
On the other hand, he might just get the longest writeup from me, as my fingers haven’t tired yet. One down, 11 to go.
Brandon Rogers, 29, is another professional musician. He’s the guy who’s done backup vocals for Christina Aguilera, Usher, etc. He did Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You,” with a nifty rejiggered slower opening that I didn’t recognize at first. He’s good, but nothing spectacular just yet. His voice was a little too soft to start, but Simon’s overall analysis — “safe and predictable” — was dead on the money.
Do the contestants watch previous seasons? I can’t help but think they don’t, because they repeat all the same mistakes. They play it too safe. They pick ballad after ballad after ballad. They don’t make the song their own. They do karaoke. UGH
Sundance Head, 28, bills himself as a machinist. He got through for his soulful style, and completely abandoned that after he got to Hollywood. He sang a song whose title I don’t know. “White Satin?” Interesting song choice for American Idol, but not one that worked to his advantage. He sang the power parts fairly well, but the rest was pitchy and all over the place. The judges cut into him pretty hard, too.
The other odd thing about him was the way he held notes. He always held them on the final consonant. Most people would tell you that you’re supposed to hold the final vowel sound and end it on the consonant. Not Sundance. Three singers down, and we have an average age of 28 so far.
Ryan gets the quote of the night after the judges’ comments: “This is going to be a long year.”
The judges were not too harsh at all last night, despite repeated comments on the show. In fact, they were lenient. Paula did her best nurturing thing, but the contestants were all so bland that there wasn’t much good to say about them.
Tons more after the break, including a comparison to a Duck, the first crash and burn, misplaced humor, and a scary rocker.
Paul Kim, the baby of the group so far at 25, went with “Careless Whisper.” He attempted to make a WHAM! song into an R&B number complete with a suck falsetto. His voice was weak, pitchy, and all over the place. And, just to add well-deserved insult to injury, Simon called the barefoot thing juvenile. Good. Jasmine’s flower-in-the-hair thing a couple of seasons ago was cute. This is forced.
Chris Richardson, 22, says he’s in the “restaurant business.” In other words, he’s a wannabe musician who’s a waiter. It’s always entertaining to see how the IDOL contestants attempt to dress up their resume. He went with “I Don’t Want To Be.” But here’s the thing: He’s the complete Justin Timberlake Clone Package. He said he expected the comparison, but he’s his own man. The problem is, he has the same hair, he dresses like him, he dances like him, he attempts to sing like him, and his mannerisms are the same. What more is there left to say? Quack quack quack. He’s a duck.
He’s most entertaining for bringing his father along to dance in the audience with him.
The judges loved him, but I don’t get it. Yes, it was an upbeat song for a change and something finally modern. But I didn’t think he was that great, and I half expected him to put a wrapped box in front of his crotch in homage to SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.
Is the pain over yet? No, we’re not even halfway home.
Nick Pedro, 25, bored the audience to tears with “Now and Forever.” He had a dopey stance behind the mic and sounded very timid. The bright side is that he had one of the least pitchy performances of the night and I thought sang well. Randy and Paula laced into him, but Simon actually defended him. Let’s hope that’s worth something to the voters at home.
Blake Lewis, 25, is our beatboxer. And he was the highlight of the night up to that point. It took an hour and five minutes to get one solid performance for the night, but it was worth it. He sang some slower current song that I didn’t recognize at all (“Somewhere Only We Know”), but he sounded great. He had a great tone to his voice, he held the pitch, and he sounded strong. He didn’t shrink from the music or the audience. The falsetto was a little weak, but that was one bad note in the entire song. Most contestants last night didn’t make it past the first two lines.
No, he didn’t do any beatboxing. The judges told him to incorporate that moving forward. I guarantee you that the first time he does that, they’ll scald him for it.
Sanjaya Malakar is the baby at 17. He did some Steve Wonder song (“More and More”) and he did it poorly. If anyone had a Crash And Burn moment, it was him. It was a painfully boring, slow, 70s-esque song. While he livened up a little in the last 30 seconds, it was far too late by then. Most of the audience had to be woken up to hear that.
Ironically, as Simon pointed out, he repeated the lyric “I don’t want to bore you with this” a few times and did just that.
One last thing: His sister picked out the song for him. Wow, she must really hate him for making it through and not her.
Chris Sligh, 28, is still The Man, but he’s threatening to get on people’s nerves now. First, he sang a modern song I didn’t recognize at all (“Typical”), but it really worked for him. It was perfectly in his range, upbeat, and he nailed it.
But then he pushed it a little too far. Simon intimated that Chris had made it as far as he had through his comedy. And then Chris grabbed the prepared line he brought with him and attempted to shove it in as soon as he could, stumbling over Ryan, before finally getting to spit it out. It wasn’t an unfunny line — about Simon’s history with the Teletubbies — but it came off calculated and a little mean. Worst of all, not everyone is going to get the joke. You have to be a real True Hollywood Stories kind of person to know what that’s about — that Simon made his name in the UK for producing licensed albums, starting with The Teletubbies. Simon called him mean.
Prior to that, his humor had been upbeat and not at all nasty. Now, I’m worried people will hold that against him and not vote for him. But, hey, if he gets kicked out of the competition early, maybe he can get to work writing his entry for the “Write The Idol Song” contest that they should be announcing soon. . .
Only three more to go. . .
Jared Cotter, 25, was a waiter before losing his job to audition. He sang that Brian McKnight song where he counts a lot. “One,” maybe? It was another boring ballad. His power notes weren’t that good. There was some other pitchiness. He’s a good looking kid and the girls will vote for him, but he’s not the best singer.
A.J. Tabaldo, 22, is a “shipping supervisor.” Insert your own mob joke here. I’m not getting in that kind of trouble. He lost me right away with the popped collar look. I didn’t write down the song name, which I think means I didn’t know it. (“Never Too Much,” it’s apparently called.) I can’t remember it already, and that’s a bad sign for A.J. His vocal was actually not bad. I thought it was fairly clean, but the overall affect was, as Simon put it, “theme park.” The best camera shot of the night came during this song when the camera cut to the judges table during the song. Paula was up behind the chairs dancing, while Simon and Randy had their scowls on, starting at AJ and trying to figure out what to make of him.
Phil Stacey, 29, is a scary looking guy. He’s a U.S. Sailor and sang “Could Not Ask For More.” The slow start was atrocious, but the rock part in the second half certainly picked things up. But as Simon pointed out, it was hard to believe him. He didn’t have that natural Rock N Roll vibe about him the way Chris Daughtry did last year. This was much closer to Karaoke.
If I had to predict this week’s losers, I would go with Sanjaya first. After that, it’s really a crap shoot. I could give you reasons for just about anyone else’s dismissal at this point. But I’ll go with Rudy. He sang first, so America forgot about him by the time they voted. And he didn’t do so badly that his fans felt the need to vote for him in large numbers.
Let’s hope the
girls women do better tonight.
De Blieck Out!