Thursday, March 15, 2012

Top 12, er, 11, and AI's Most Ridiculous Moment

And yes, that includes inviting William Hung back to sing on the finale, launching his brief solo career.

This will go down as one of the "eh" shows of the year for American Idol. There were some really good performances, a number of fair-to-middling, and a couple of real ear bleeders. I wasn't really surprised by much of what I saw, except for Nigel and Ken sitting down Jermaine Jones in what had to be the most heartless and low-class thing I've seen AI do ever. There was no reason to record and then broadcast this conversation. First of all, they aren't the law enforcement officials and shouldn't have been questioning him about specifics of these incidents where there are still outstanding warrants. Secondly, the news had broken already so rehashing it was pointless. I just thought it was stupid. And then to broadcast portions of his practice session that happened right before they booted him off? It reeked of ratings grubbing.

Besides the brief foray into Jerry Springer territory, there was a singing competition going on. The judges were all down on most of the contestants, as if whatever Steven's been smoking around the other two has finally worn off. Jimmy Iovine looked incredibly uncomfortable while plugging the new AT&T whatever it is that does something with airwaves and music and brushes your teeth or something. Will.I.Am is a riot. Love that guy. He is so entertaining to watch talk, rap off the cuff, sing, make faces, or whatever, and I'm glad they keep bringing him back.

I think the birth year weeks are very telling. One thing I've noticed is that, in general, the younger contestants seem to have a more difficult time picking a good song. I think that's mostly because music from your birth year tends to be outside of your usual favorites, but over time we get more and more exposure to other genres and artists. The teens haven't always had enough experience or time to get to know older music. Or, it could just be a coincidence.

Phillip Phillips ("Too Hard to Handle"): Not bad for a guy that had some sort of surgery for kidney stones. Not bad for any guy who comes out on the Idol stage. He did his usual great job and I thought he was one of the best of the night. His song choice was right on, by the way, unlike many others.

Jessica Sanchez ("Turn the Beat Around"): I think someone has done this on this show in the past. Oh yeah. EVERYONE! It's not even a great song to begin with. I thought Jessica did a good job with the song, especially given how boring it is. If there was an "America's Next Great Back-up Band" show this would be a great song to showcase all of the hopeful percussionists, though.

HeeJun Han ("Right Here Waiting For You"): Oh, HeeJun. What are you doing to us? This song was only "just a'ight" back in 1989, and time has not made it any better. The one upside is that Richard Marx was so out of tune that HeeJun's pitchy notes weren't that noticeable. I'm with the judges, though. There are so many songs that would have been a better match for him. Hopefully his personality keeps him going through so he can have another chance at it. Also, any chance Idol had of getting Fergie to mentor on the show is probably gone now.

Elise Testone ("Let's Stay Together"): This was a much better week for her. Last week she had the double whammy of having to sing a song that was outside of her comfort zone, and that was also by one of the "untouchable" artists on American Idol. I think Elise is a talented singer, and in general I like voices like hers, but I'm still not sure that I really like her. She definitely deserves to go on, though.

DeAndre Brackensick ("Endless Love"): He looked the most uncomfortable of all the contestants tonight, whether on stage or in rehearsal, probably because he had no clue what song to sing. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" was not a great choice. "Endless Love" had more potential, but pulling off a duet song like this one is no easy task. His performance was good, but not great.

Shannon Magrane ("One Sweet Day"): Nice girl. Boring performance. The judges heard something slightly different than I did because their praise was a bit higher than mine would have been. Again, Shannon's was one of the solid performances, but nothing spectacular.

Colton Dixon ("Broken Heart"): I've actually heard this song, but admittedly don't know it well. Anyway, Colton is really good. I enjoyed his performance and while he doesn't seem to be a classic rocker, he has a style that is very much his own. I'm looking forward to next week when he will have enough time to implement Chris Daughtry's advice.

Erika Van Pelt ("Heaven"): On this one the judges were too harsh. They pulled out their "just sing the song" critique on this one, choosing to abandon their ubiquitous "make it your own" suggestion. This was a great song for her voice and she sang it well. She should make it through to next week.

Skylar Laine ("Love Sneakin' Up On You"): I have two opposing thoughts on this performance. She sang it very well, and it fit her style, but the song didn't really showcase a lot of versatility in her abilities. On a night like this one she definitely did enough to move on, and I'll give her props for basically telling two industry veterans that she doesn't care what they think, she's doing it her own way. Good thing she did it well.

Joshua Ledet ("When a Man Loves a Woman"): OK. Show's over. Hand him the title. This guy is awesome! He feels the music so completely that there is nothing he can do but perform well. It's like music is the only thing he was ever meant to do, besides eat crayfish. I don't even know what else to say. Love this guy.

Hollie Cavanaugh ("Power of Love"): Being married to a petite woman with a lot of energy I've learned to never underestimate the power that can come from small frames. This girl can sing. It was not perfect, and the last note was a little out of tune, but overall you've got to give her credit for taking on a diva and doing it well. I'd like to know a little more about her background since now we know she was born across the pond. Maybe they mentioned some of that in the audition shows, but watching 4,000 hours of human waste for one interesting tidbit still does not interest me in the least.

Top 3: Joshua, Hollie, Phillip
Bottom 3: HeeJun (it's the performance, not the person), Shannon, some other person who was just OK
Buying a Ticket for the Tour: Shannon


Boquinha said...

Dude. Your post is actually an argument for Steven Tyler smoking something. Honestly, what was his deal tonight?

Excellent point, too, that Fergie is likely out as a mentor. :P

Loved your comment about petite frames. :)

Dave Johnson said...

This post is so beautiful, I want to rub it on my hands,comb it into my hair, and - ah, forget it.

terahreu said...

So happy to read your recaps again. All of it was spot on! AI has become a horrific accident scene for me. I know I should, but I can't look away.