Archive for March 2011

 
 

Greatest Idol Results Show Ever

As overproduced as “Idol” has become in many ways — the gospel choir coming out on stage way before the Final Four, for example — tonight’s results show was produced so well from top to bottom that it was actually a thrill to watch, not just to fast-forward through. I like a lot of what Nigel Lythgoe has added back to the show. Putting the contestants in a house together and watching them interact more is cool. I like all the talking heads interview stuff. I liked the package tonight where Marc Anthony showed them how to use their IADs. (Sorry, “In Ears.”)

And, of course, the surprises were fun to watch. First, the group singalongs are miraculously improved when the mics are live, and it’s not all lip-synched. This year, it’s made a major difference. I don’t cringe at watching the contestants put on a happy face and cover their mouths with the mics to hide their poor synching skills. Second, bringing out Stevie Wonder was certainly a coup. It looks like they kept Steven Tyler in the dark about that. Don’t know about the other two judges. I presume they were in on it to help sell the birthday surprise for Tyler that came next.

The Hulk Hogan appearance was pure gold. Yeah, I hate wrestling, too, but to see James collapse with that big a smile on his face was fun.

The whole show tonight had the air of a season finale, with surprise after surprise.

And speaking of collapses — I was nearly certain we were going to have our first live on-air casualty on reality TV. Casey is not a well man. He’s been in and out of the hospital a couple of times since the series began. I think they’ve officially blamed stomach issues. I thought Ryan was giving him a heart attack tonight. It was almost uncomfortable to watch.

Also, I presume they reset the seven second delay at each commercial break? Those contestants all have quite the potty-mouths. Lots of audio drop-outs tonight, and they didn’t come from Steven Tyler’s seat.

Also, it’s nice of the producers to put a silver box around the bare speakers that sit atop the judges’ table now. I don’t know if they’ve been there all season, but I first noticed them last week. Those two big black boxes looked a little unfinished. I guess they need them at the judges table with the contestants using in-ears so there isn’t any feedback or something? Don’t remember seeing them there before, ever. The judges have always said that it can be tough to judge the live performances with all the audience noise, so maybe those speakers are there to help?

In any case, great results show tonight. Looking forward to next week now. Will they be eliminating two contestants next week, still?

Now, the only question is, did they do the right thing in saving Casey? I’ve championed him in the past, but to be honest, I’m not sure it was such a good idea. They should have saved it in case something tragic happened like Pia landing at the bottom due to fan complacency. Or what about Jacob or James? Should Casey win this whole thing? No. He’s entertaining, but he’s not the Idol. Ditto Paul McDonald, who might be the weakest guy, vocally, though he’s always interesting to watch and had a very good song this week.

And just when can we rid ourselves of this year’s most annoying contestant, Haley?

“All By Myself”

Every now and again, “American Idol” needs the reminder that “All By Myself” is NOT a Celine Dion song. It’s an Eric Carmen song used to great effect in an episode of “The Drew Carey Show” once upon a time. (OK, if you want to dig into the roots even deeper, it’s a Rachmaninoff song being sampled here, which Carmen didn’t realize wasn’t actually public domain and had to get a license for after the fact.)

And how could they not mention Latoya London’s performance of the song, which has set the Idol standard for it:

Where Pia is all technical and precide, Latoya’s version of the song builds better and has more raw emotion. I think Pia did better last week, still.

That video clip is fun to watch just for Ryan Seacrest at the end, back in his “I’m everyone’s brother on this show” mode. Now, he’s “Smarmy television host in a suit.”

One more cool Carmen fact from Wikipedia: “Carmen’s full version has an extended piano solo and lasts over seven minutes”

Bonus Idol video of Asia’h Epperson (yeah, I had forgotten her, too) from season 7 doing the same song after the break. It wasn’t pretty, but she was also sick at the time:


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Walter Ray Williams Jr. – The End Is Near?

I haven’d had enough time to watch bowling this season, though I still check in at the beginning of each week’s show to see who’s making the television finals.  There’s been one name absent all season, though: Walter Ray Williams Jr.  It finally bothered me so much that I Googled for an answer and came back with a New York Times article from earlier this year.  I think this sums it all up:

He is 51, perhaps near the end of bowling’s most remarkable career. He won his first Professional Bowlers Association Tour player of the year award in 1986 and his seventh in 2010. Five of those awards came after his 1995 induction into the P.B.A. Hall of Fame. No one has won more tour events (47), and only Earl Anthony, with 10, has won more than Williams’s eight major titles. [...]

This season, which began in October, unraveled after a September hernia operation, a change in ball sponsorship and Williams’s persistently arthritic fingers. His string of 17 consecutive seasons with at least one tour title is in danger, although he has exempt status for 2011-12.

He could retire after that season, should things not turn around for him.  I haven’t watched a week of bowling in my life on television where the thought of Walter Ray being on the broadcast wasn’t at least a possibility.  My own awkward style of bowling was always inspired by the simple controlled accuracy of Williams, though I was never anywhere near as good/

How good is he?  YouTube shows us:

I could watch that all day. . .   I’ve seen it countless times (including in its original airing) and it never gets old.

AI10 – Round of 24 – The Girls

This is going to be long. I just wrote while I watched. I’m not going to edit it. Here it is, with all the verb tense screw-ups that made sense at the time:

Ta-Tynisa Wilson chose a bad Idol song.  This is an auto-tuned song that she’s trying to sing straight.  She got lucky that the new band is addicted to awful sounding synth effects, so she almost made it work.  But no.  Steven Tyler and J-Lo, as always, love everyone too much.  I’m glad Randy is so comfortable in the Bad Guy role.  He’s the only sane one on that panel now.  Crazy world, eh?
Wait a second, was she always “Ta-Tynisa?”  That names sounds different to me, and Idol does have a history of people changing their names before hitting this round…  GOOGLE!
Yup, that’s always been her name. Maybe she added the dash, but that’s it.  Ah, well…
Naima Adedapo went with “Summertime.”  Get ready for the Fantasia comparisons.  And she’s dancing to the opening music.  But she’s not going for the lower sultrier Fantasia version.  This one is more jazzy.  It’s OK. She stays on pitch and it’s good to hear a different version of it, but I’m not ready to crown her just yet.
And there’s Randy with the comparison.  Yup.
Two contestants in and my spellchecker is having a stroke…
Kendra Chantelle is showing great control and is hitting her notes.  The band is mixed a little too high, and the song itself never gets out of second gear, but her vocal is clear.  I like that.  And I think all the hand gesturing this season is going to bother me this year for some reason.
Rachel Zevita is a nut, isn’t she?  That makes her interesting, and a little bit, er, gothy? Crazy? Oh dear god, she’s a bit too melodramatic/theatrical.  Did she almost forget the words in the beginning there?  I just don’t buy her as a sex kitten. And her voice died somewhere near the judges’ table.  This is going badly.  She tried too hard and it didn’t work.  Ouch.  And the judges let her have it.  Is she going to cry?
Oh, boy.  ”I was having a good time.”  Words of death on this show.  The ultimate bad defense.
Karen Rodriquez went down the Mariah well.  Uh oh.  And then switches to Spanish, and I’m out.  Oh, boy, she’s really stuck in the middle of this song.  Even when she belts out a note, it still sounds like it’s in the middle of her range.  And the hand gestures are so literal it’s painful.
That “Love You, Mom” will get her a few votes.  The Spanish will carry Southern California, Texas, and Florida, though.
Someone needs to explain that “Romance Language” refers to Rome and not “romance,” though. UGH.
Or maybe I’m cranky tonight. I’m not liking anyone too much, really.
Lauren Turner has always reminded me of that friend living in the apartment next to yours in the city, not a pop star.  She’s the shoulder everyone cries on.  She’s the best friend you bitch about all your friends to.  Pop star? Not so sure.  Fair?  What is?
In any case, it’s an odd song, but she sang it well. I like the deeper part of her voice, which most of these girls don’t have.  And she held control of her voice, in and out of the power part.
And now J Lo is complaining she’s not acting enough.  A minute ago, they complained that a contestant was too Broadway.  Lauren, they complain, needed to get in the camera’s face and really act.  The judges are confusing us early this season.
Ashthon Jones really showed up in the group round, so I’m looking forward to this one.  Wait, her leggings have zippers?  Weird.  The song seems to fit her style, and she’s staying with it, acting without overacting.  Not my style, but she’s good at what she does.
J Lo is calling her a diva — in other words, just what Idol wants this season.
Julie Zorilla goes Kelly Clarkson.  She chose to sing in her prom dress. Or maybe her ballerina Halloween costume?  Oh, dear god, someone pin her arms to her sides. They’re annoying.  The band is overplaying and drowning her out.  The judges are not amused.  Ooh, this is bad.  It’s a power song that she doesn’t have the power for. SHe’s drowning.And she couldn’t hold teh falsetto at the end.
She’s meek.
Crash. And. Burn.  No worse than Rachel, but no better, either.
Haley Reinhart goes to Alicia Keys.  Oh, bot, that rarely works.  This is karaoke, like a little girl trying to play rock star or something.  Plus, I feel vaguely uncomfortable when she tries to play sexy.  What is she, like 17?
But, she has diva potential, so Idol wants her.
Randy called her karaoke, so at least we’re on the same wavelength.
“If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.”  Steven Tyler wins comment of the night.
The problem, though, is that she’s a Miss America contestant, trying to solve the world’s problems through song and sharing her gift with blah blah blah.
Thia Megia goes a capella at the start. And she’s not oversinging it. The opening is soft and quiet and impressive. Everything else is controlled, vibrant, and shows some range.  I like her.  Will it be enough to get votes?  I don’t know, but for the first time, the band isn’t overpowering a singer.  Just her and the piano, and it works. It works big.  I like it.  She didn’t do all the runs, which every other singer on that stage tonight would have done.  Thank goodness for that.
If she cries now, she wins.
Dammit, that song might be our first Idol Moment of the season.
Probably the Judges’ Choice, if need be.
Lauren Alaina has had lots of air time this season, so she’s an early favoite for the Top 10.  This song is not showing off her voice, though. She has a much better voice than the range this songs gives her. Plus, the band is all over her.
She needs to choke up on that microphone a bit, too.
Not a bad performance at all, but it doesn’t do everything for her than it could.
Randy’s description of Lauren as a mix of Kelly and Carrie makes sense.
Pia Toscano to close means she’s going to be good, which isn’t a shock, given how strong she came on in Hollywood.
Wow.
SHe’s the ultimate Idol diva. Holy crap. Can hold a note. Can do power.  Can do something soft.  Can belt it out.  Best performance of the night by far.  IDOL MOMENT.
You know the thing that puts that song over the top?  She hit three classic Idol long notes in a row to end the song — WITHOUT making any of them into runs.
Holy crap.
Did Tyler just say “After Monday and Tuesday, even a week says ‘WTF’”?  I never realized that before. I’m so slow.
Watching the recap now is a string of disappointments next to Pia.  She’s the woman who made girls out of the rest of them.
She and Thia steal the night for me.

Ta-Tynisa Wilson chose a bad Idol song.  This is an auto-tuned song that she’s trying to sing straight.  She got lucky that the new band is addicted to awful sounding synth effects, so she almost made it work.  But no.  Steven Tyler and J-Lo, as always, love everyone too much.  I’m glad Randy is so comfortable in the Bad Guy role.  He’s the only sane one on that panel now.  Crazy world, eh?

Wait a second, was she always “Ta-Tynisa?”  That names sounds different to me, and Idol does have a history of people changing their names before hitting this round…  GOOGLE!

Yup, that’s always been her name. Maybe she added the dash, but that’s it.  Ah, well…

Naima Adedapo went with “Summertime.”  Get ready for the Fantasia comparisons.  And she’s dancing to the opening music.  But she’s not going for the lower sultrier Fantasia version.  This one is more jazzy.  It’s OK. She stays on pitch and it’s good to hear a different version of it, but I’m not ready to crown her just yet.

And there’s Randy with the comparison.  Yup.

Two contestants in and my spellchecker is having a stroke…

Kendra Chantelle is showing great control and is hitting her notes.  The band is mixed a little too high, and the song itself never gets out of second gear, but her vocal is clear.  I like that.  And I think all the hand gesturing this season is going to bother me this year for some reason.  I remember Debra Byrd once picking on a contestant for doing all the obvious hand gestures (finger running down the cheek on a lyric for cry”).  I hope they start reminding contestants of that in the future…

Rachel Zevita is a nut, isn’t she?  That makes her interesting, and a little bit, er, gothy? Crazy? Oh dear god, she’s a bit too melodramatic/theatrical.  Did she almost forget the words in the beginning there?  I just don’t buy her as a sex kitten. And her voice died somewhere near the judges’ table.  This is going badly.  She tried too hard and it didn’t work.  Ouch.  And the judges let her have it.  Is she going to cry?

Oh, boy.  ”I was having a good time.”  Words of death on this show.  The ultimate bad defense.  Crash and burn?

Karen Rodriquez went down the Mariah well.  Uh oh.  And then switches to Spanish, and I’m out.  Oh, boy, she’s really stuck in the middle of this song.  Even when she belts out a note, it still sounds like it’s in the middle of her range.  And the hand gestures are so literal it’s painful.

That “Love You, Mom” will get her a few votes.  The Spanish will carry Southern California, Texas, and Florida in the voting.  They are powerhouses.

Someone needs to explain to J-Lo that “Romance Language” refers to Rome and not “romance,” though. UGH.

Or maybe I’m cranky tonight. I’m not liking anyone too much, really.

More crankiness after the break, and two Idol Moments?


Den ganzen Beitrag lesen…

AI10: Round of 24 — Boys

It’s quite the cast of screamers they have lined up on “Idol” this year, isn’t it? But it’s those screamers that will likely stand out and make it through. It’ll be a brutal cut this week, losing 7 of those 12, though we know one or two might come back as Judges Choice. Still, I can’t easily name the 7 or even the five who should go. I have my preferences, though.

Casey Abrams is the one contestant right now that makes me want to jump up and start dialing the phone. He’s unpredictable, he’s funny, and he backs it all up with musical ability. It’s scary. Strange, but scary. What he did tonight made me laugh at least three times, and I like that.

Paul McDonald almost gets there into Casey’s stratosphere, but I’m afraid tonight’s karaoke may doom him. He’s awkward and unpredictable and I like that, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to carry him through. He doesn’t have a good background story to draw from like so many of the other “early favorites” do.

Robbie Rosen didn’t sing a Neil Diamond song. Bad move. He has this going for him: He’s young. That’ll get him a good number of votes. But if it’s all based on that song tonight, he’s done. So let’s eliminate him now.

Scott McCreery stands out. He’s the only country guy this year, and we’ve seen in previous seasons that the country voting bloc is a strong one. I think he’ll make it through.

Tim Halperin is doomed. I’m guessing that the rule came down for no instruments this week. He needed a piano. That’s when he does his best work. Without it, this week he sang a perfectly competent cover tune that I’ve already forgotten. Shame.

Jordan Dorsey is arrogant and not nearly as great as he thinks he is. However, he’s the only guy covering that genre of music this week with an Usher cover. That might get him votes. Otherwise, he’s done. Like Tim, he went the wrong way with his song selection and it’ll be his undoing. Also, he’s fawning and obsequious. Check out how quickly he agrees with the judges when they tell him he was wrong, and then how quickly he defends himself to Ryan Seacrest. I got whiplash from watching him bounce around so quickly like that.

James Durbin is going through. He’s basically warmed-over Adam Lambert, but to the rock side, as opposed to the theatrical side. Doesn’t do much for me, but it seems that the judges and the studio audience wants a screamer this year. Speaking of which

Jacob Lusk is a guaranteed Top 12 contestant. If the votes somehow don’t go his way, the judges will make him their choice. No doubt. I think he’s overrated and too wild and uncontrolled, but I know when I’m outnumbered. Still, I want to see the Jacob/James duet this season. I think we’d see a lot of cases of laryngitis after such a thing…

Clint Jun Gamboa will likely fall victim to the “Going First” death spot on the lineup. I’m not a big fan, so that doesn’t bother me.

Brett Loewenstern sounded absolutely awful to me. But, again, I fear I’m outnumbered. He’d be an easily one to drop off the show Thursday night, but he has a lot going for him in the 12 – 17 female demographic that controls the vote so much.

Jovany Barreto can sing. I believe that. I just didn’t like that performance tonight. He can go.

Stefano Langone is the contestant I always pair with Jovany in my mind. And he was good with his song, but not memorable. He didn’t scream nearly loudly or shrieky enough to get the votes.

So, that all said, who goes through from the audience vote? I’ll go with:

  • Jacob
  • James
  • Scotty
  • Casey
  • Brett

Judges will choose between Robbie and Paul for their choice. Or maybe they’ll just pick two girls, instead. We’ll see how tomorrow night goes.