American Idol Top 4: Duets and Mrs. Robinson

May 12, 2010

Movie theme night, yet another theme guaranteed to be quite terrible. From what I understand the hapless contestants had only ten tunes to pick from so we shouldn’t be too very hard on them. I do enjoy the top four spot in which the contestants get to duet with one another. My query is why doesn’t the show do more of that during the season, would be so much more interesting than some of those gawdawful group numbers.

Jamie Foxx once again on the show as a guest mentor and once again I can only ask “why him”? I mean the guy’s last season performance with full on autotune was quite horrible and confirmed he should stick to acting and ‘scripted’ singing… ala his Oscar winning turn as Ray Charles. He came up with at least an original idea with presenting the contestants with tacky t-shirts labeled ‘Contestant’ or ‘Artist’ to ‘grade’ them on their practice session with him.

He does do some decent mentoring but he pales (excuse my terminology) in comparison to Harry Connick, Jr. (Radio rumors this morning have Mr. Connick hot in the running for the Simon Cowell position *crosses fingers*.) I did get the feel that possibly Mr. Foxx was giving it a run toward possibly positioning himself as a contender for that position as well. Seems an easy gig with incredible benefits and great pay, certainly he would make more at that than his record sales.

Lee oddly selects “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal, a tune apparently from “Batman Forever” and immediately wins the “Contestant” shirt or just a plain black tee that reads “I Suck”. His vocals consist of incoherent mumbles (per usual) and he bottoms out the low notes while evading the true melody behind the tune. Way back when I liked that song but since I’ve heard it way too often in the Idol format I’ve grown to truely hate it.

I thought Jamie Foxx’s approach of getting in Lee’s face ala Hokey Gokey last season was, well, so last season.

Harkening back to the greatness that was Harry Connick last week, Kara calls Lee out for his “out of tune” delivery Let’s hope that “pitchy” is dead to us all from this time forward in this show.

Simon relies on the tried and true and muchly used ‘karaoke’ label that has been in full form this season and of course, he’s right. I know it’s an impossibility but Lee should go home, but I’ll try to stick to reality and understand that’s not happening. In this universe at least.

Michael Lynche hilariously chose a song from “Free Willy”, I don’t know about you but the mental image of him standing starkers with his ‘willy’ dangling ‘free’ made me giggle. Lynche pointed out how it’s a Michael Jackson song referring to Egypt or something, not at all to do with his identifying with being a whale…. (I know, I’m on a roll…)

Large Lynche attempts the gospel route, which was also quite odd considering the entire “Willy” thing. Anyway I hope Lynche’s willy is indeed set free tonight but after his pathetic plea that ‘he had a dream from last year to finish top three’ he may stay. Those people in Florida having not to deal with ‘hanging chads’ or such will likely be punching the phone lines. (I can’t help myself.)

First duet of the night had Lee and Crystal singing “Falling Slowly” from Once. They actually sound pretty good, Crystal carrying Lee who actually tries to develop a personality in a few parts of the song. I recall from last year when wee Kris Allen sang it no one even seemed to know what it was and now it’s everyone’s ‘favorite’. bah.

Golden haired boy, Casey James ingeniously (perhaps he does actually have a bright mind) picks “Mrs. Robinson” – that tune from The Graduate by Simon and Garfunkel. I did not buy for one moment Casey was innocent in heading in THAT direction. The song choice might save him. I question his selecting a mandolin for the tune, but at least he did not go with a ukulele although that would have been funnier. Jamie Foxx in his time with Casey was strange, what was that about ‘seducing’ him?

Speaking of seducing, Kara donned her lady suit for the night. I was thinking it perhaps an attempt to at least look more intelligent. Sadly, as soon as she opened her mouth that ploy failed when she turned the attention for Casey’s song choice into being all about her. As usual.
Casey James “Mrs. Robinson”

MommaSox picked Kenny Loggins, “I’m All Right” as in “Caddyshack”, you know that movie about the gopher/rodent running amuck all over the golf course… or something. Of course she was the best of the night but she did pull a hint of Siobhan out of her throat toward the end of the song… Her boyfriend, significant other or whatnot was front and center waving the flag for her, in form of pajama pants. I mean, really it’s just Idol why dress?

Second duet of the night, Fat Mike and Casey James do Brian Adams’ “Have You Ever Loved A Woman”, which to Casey’s credit he played quite well on. I do have a prejudice against Brian Adams, I will admit. Another thing I noticed, Fat Mike WEARS his guitar. The guy occasionally strums a note here and there but I really hate posers who don a guitar like you’d wear any sort of accessory. They weren’t too bad though, overall.

I hold out hope that Big Mike will end his Idol journey tonight, that Casey progresses into Top Three. (Mike will likely pull a Jason Castro and get his homecoming anyway, don’t ‘boo’ me here, people.) It would make it all worthwhile to see somehow, someway Casey knocks that blubbery smile off Lee’s mug and beats him into the Top Two. We already know who’s winning this thing. Holding on to the thought that we’re almost done for the year.

Oh, by the way, ‘sources’ say that the successor to Cowell will be announced very soon. (Chant to yourselves, “Harry Connick” “Harry Connick”, make it a mantra.)

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American Idol Top 6: How We Missed Tim Urban

April 28, 2010

The show began with my darling daughter lamenting, “It’s not going to be the same without Timmeh…”. She was right it wasn’t the same but then again it wasn’t any different except Tim Urban is now ‘come back home’ to Texas.

Pulling up caboose role last night, in the Shania Twain (Train) (play on words) night that Ellen Degeneres thought so funny was Lee Dewyze. The guy sang a completely toneless, tuneless and gravelly version of this Shania song; I could not even figure out what the Hell it was until looked it up. Google is my friend. I guess that’s called ‘making it your own’ and his own is NOT the One.
Lee Dewyze sings “You’re the One”

Michael Lynche picked “It Only Hurts when I’m Breathing” and it only hurt when I sat and watched him sing this. Lynche gave an effeminate, greasy-cheese performance complete with stupid facial contortions and over the top melisma served with a side of terrible. Ellen said he was like Luther Van Dross. That must be one of her funnier lines this season. He too makes this song ‘his own’; an unrecognizable, girly wailing fashitto waste of stage.

Casey James sang, “Don’t”, in his words to “show the side of me I haven’t really showed.” He looked gorgeous, but I was hoping for his showing how to sing Shania without a shirt, but THAT wasn’t the side of him he was talking about. We’re getting the entire Casey/Shania performance moment because well, it is my blog.

Now that is a beautiful man. TheDman keeps saying this guy will win it all, but I think (since he doesn’t really watch this show much) he’s pacifying me for bonus points because I think the guy’s a yummy mess.
The judges loved him, dubbed it The Best Casey James Performance Evah! Simon told him he must kiss Shania and I called it shenanigans. Why did Simon wear his Venom (Spiderman reference) shirt last night?
Crystal Bowersox delivered an authentically country sounding, “No One Needs to Know”, and the judge panel decides, you know, to mix it up, to toss her under the bus. Oh the suspense… will she still be safe (big undertone of sarcasm)? She continues that “Magic Carpet Ride” theme with a new rug and gives a drinking-a- cold-Lone-Star moment.
Crystal Bowersox, “No One Needs to Know”

Aaron Kelly gives the show what he does every week, every thing he does sounds the same. “You’ve Got a Way” though finally made me recall who he reminds me of… a young K D Lange. Why haven’t I noticed this before?
Aaron Kelly “You’ve Got a Way”

Siobhan Magnus was The Scream Train that drove the show last night with her dancing, prancey version of “Any Man of Mine”. Simon Cowell was so knocked out he deemed it sounded like she was ‘giving birth’ on stage. Birth to a new VFTW campaign. Siobhan did not disappoint last night.
Siobhan Magnus “Any Man of Mine”

Yee Haw.

Dial Idol has Michael Lynche and Lee in the bottom two, but then again wee Aaron is at number one. I am pulling for either of them to go home. Or Aaron.


Teflon Tim vs The Double Elimination Monster

April 13, 2010

This is it Tim Urban. Time to see if that coating of extra thick teflon can carry you through to another week. Time to shine like the sparkle off your brilliantly white teeth. This is the dreaded double elimination week; strategically set up utilizing Mike Lynche as the kingpin to attempt to knock you off American Idol.

This ruse has worked in the past when certain pesky contestants stayed past their welcome in the eyes of the show’s producers. The Idol Gives Back special is looming in the near future and as ridiculous as it sounds, the show may prefer to have Tim gone. I know, I can’t imagine that charitable special without Urban. It’s a complete mistake considering he’s done Christian charitable causes work in the past; we’re talking experience here folks, plus Urban is one of the only contestants bringing some much needed entertainment to this season.

Not that I’m biased, but it would make more sense to see Aaron “Yoda” Kelly, who has evidenced a complete lack of emotion and personality voted off the show, or that goggle wearing guy, Garcia, who seems to be pissed off every episode when the camera zooms in on him. Neither one can claim much more talent promise than Urban who has shown nothing but positivity and class during his struggle-filled tenure on the show. What Tim possesses that those other two contestants lack, definable charm, positive attitude and an incredibly toned and cut set of abs….that should count for something, right? Right.

Vote for the Worst founder and American Idol bullshit spotting guru, Dave Della Terza, was interviewed by AOL Television about the site’s longest running Idol pick. Dave explained what he loves about Tim Urban and what the site participants appreciate about the guy:
Tell us, in your own Vote for the Worst words, what makes Tim Urban so special.

“He just doesn’t seem to care. I mean, he cares, but he doesn’t take it seriously, which is something that we always love in the Vote For the Worst contestants. I mean, when we had Sanjaya coming out with a ponyhawk or singing to the crying girl — we love that stuff. People seem to take ‘American Idol’ so seriously, so when one of the contestants like Norman Gentle isn’t taking it seriously, we love that. The fact that Tim Urban just isn’t taking himself seriously and all the other contestants are getting so upset if they’re on the bottom and he’s just laughing it off — that’s awesome. He clearly is making everyone angry, because he knows he’s on borrowed time. He knows he isn’t supposed to be there, but he’s just having fun with it.”

Each week Dave is surprised and elated at the success of retaining Urban to sing another week. Granted the crowd at Vote for the Worst can’t take all the credit, Tim Urban has a small legion of fans outside the Worster box in the form of teen and tween-age girls as well as the fans he held here in Texas prior to the competition.

Donna Reynolds who has been writing and blogging about American Idol from the beginning of the show (I think) wrote in Syracuse.com:

“In what some are calling the most boring season of ‘American Idol’ ever, there has been one rather compelling element, and that is the continuing survival of Tim Urban in the competition…
But in a season that has been as dull as dishwater (how dull is dishwater, anyway), the excitement generated by Tim’s continuing survival is making this season a little more enjoyable. I urge you to help by voting for Tim this week!”

USA Today has a positive write up following Tim’s Lennon and McCartney week performance.

“Tim brings out the hollowbody electric (and a Beatles hairstyle) for All My Loving, which he gives sort of a Plain White T’s shuffle. Honestly — and I kind of hate to say it — he gets this song inside and out, and he’s doing just the right things with the melody and rhythm, and he’s actually playing to his strengths.”

It’s true, there have been some who have praised Tim but he also has amassed a large contingency of detractors here and abroad. Stuart Heritage of Hecklerspray.com, one of the top voted sites in the UK, (and perhaps the world as he likes to indicate) has taken notice of Tim. Mr. Heritage added his two cents about what he thought of Tim in a piece he put together last week.

“Every second that Tim Urban stays on American Idol feels like an eternity of being kicked in the balls. That’s no exaggeration. It feels like we’ve been waiting for years to see the floppy-haired, perpetually wrongheaded Osmond cyborg get eliminated from American Idol, and it still hasn’t happened yet.”

Tim Urban is going to need all the help he can get THIS week, he’s facing the daunting challenge of beating the dreaded “Double Elimination Week” after the judge’s panel unanimously agreed to save Michael Lynche who, last week, was depicted as receiving the lowest votes. This week viewers will see two people voted off, likely candidates may be Tim Urban, that Katie girl, Aaron Kelly and Goggles Garcia.

Tim’s time on this show has been the classic Underdog story. Initially he was cast aside for past contender, Chris Golightly who was disqualified on an unconfirmed technicallity. The show reinstated Urban but likely did not expect him to progress much farther than that first week (24). Urban has been met with unabashed and harsh criticisms from the judging panel week after week with the exception of this past week. Tim has smiled and thanked the judges no matter what they’ve said to him. Most contestants met with even half the vitriole that Urban has faced have cried and lost confidence. Tim Urban is the epitome of qualities that makes the Underdog champion so likeable, he’s a poster boy for the power of positive thinking.

Tim Urban at The Door, Dallas, Texas (his local band)

Tim Urban, Original song

Tim Urban ‘Teh’ Actor:

“Should I Stay or Should I Go?” The Clash


American Idol 9: So Close and Yet So Far

March 11, 2010

This week’s American Idol top 16 was a lesson in finding the funny. Seriously, people are we really still thinking this show is all about the music? Let me hit you then with a dose of high reality about this reality show. We can’t even say American Idol has jumped the shark because that would be giving this highly rated karaoke contest some credit for being everything that FOX has wanted it to be, yet it’s not.

Opening the Top 16, Tuesday night we see Ellen Degeneres smoozing up Simon Cowell. Why? To dispell the rumors that started this season that she and Cowell did not get along. Plain and simple. Remember Ellen use to be an actor in a popular evening sitcom so she remembers how to play it Straight… Seriously though, Portia I don’t think you’ve anything to worry about…

Katie Steven the previously thought of Idol favorite once again bombs out on her song. See, people, we can’t go by all the hype coming into this crapfest, it’s all designed to get you to tune in – that or the girl originally came across much better before the show actually started on television. She picks Kelly Clarkson’s hit, “Break Away” and she started way too low and flat and simply floundered pitifully through the rest of the tune. Sadly to top off her dismal vocal performance, she wore a pair of the fugliest pants I’ve ever seen. What were they some sort of camoflage? Seriously, she needed camoflage to fade out of sight after that song. Randy called it karaoke, but that was being way too kind. Simon said she sucked the life out of it. Still he made it clear they still want her on the show. Why? She’s only 17!!!

Siobhan Magnus selected the old classic, “House of Rising Sun”, an old tune I actually like and I like her. She’s so different, odd and rocks originality. She sang it accapella and while it was no Bo Bice “In a Dream” performance it wasn’t terrible. Since the show keeps yanking this season’s contestants’ vids shortly after they hit the Youtube, I’ll put up Bo Bice and his accapella performance instead.
Bo Bice “In a Dream”

Randy gives the best advice this season, “don’t listen to us”. She’s seemingly become the contestant Simon wants to kill off the most, all he can say about her is she’s odd and wierd… I see potential VFTW in her one day.

Lacey Brown did better this week, she performed a song that fit her voice and personality but she’s just not doing much for me at this point. I think she looks much like Nikki McKibben. That’s all I got on Lacey.

Katelyn Epperly tried to make the Earth move with a Carole King tune, she played keyboards. It made absolutely nothing seismic happen in the studio or for us at home. Big bomb for Epperly and is she going for the Howard Stern look? Check it: (Epperly) – the hair and the song a big Mistake.

Didi Benami played her guitar to the Fleetwood Mac song, “Rhiannon”. It was kind of cool, but thing is, Didi sings every song in the same way, identical vocal treatment. Can you imagine listening to that track after track on a CD? The only thing that changes up a Didi Benami performance, the lyrics. My favorite judges’ comment, Ellen’s ‘yes indeedidi’.

I have to pause to comment that Kara must be trying to fill that Paula Abdul void, that or Pauler has some voodoo channeled at Kara and randomly takes over Kara’s body. It’s odd. The hanging next to Simon, her increasingly over the top emotionalism…that wild glazed gleam that shines out from her eyes. Sadly she’s a mere imitation; brought me to the realization that the real Paula does seem to be sorely missing this season.

Anyway, we see the faux crying from Didi, I think at least one tear was shed. I really hate her now. Fraud, fraud, fraud.

I found it ironic Paige Miles picked “Smile” for two reasons, one being Miles and Smile sound similar (yes, I know how first grade of me) and that she nearly wept through the entire song.
Oh look this video still up on Youtube: Paige Miles “Smile”

Randy gives an interesting comment with Paige’s review, “beef, chicken or shrimp” comparing her to a banquet singer. Kara was her bitch face self and well we need not cover them any further.

Crystal Bowersox performed “Give Me One Reason” giving the at-home audience a good reason to pick up their phones and dial. She did a good job. So good in fact, Simon felt the need to get mathematical and rave something about one million billion per cent in the top 12, claiming she’s The One.

Lilly Scott did “I Fall to Pieces” and whereas I did not want to fall into pieces listening to her song delivery (while playing mandolin) she did it interestingly enough. Thing is she continues to remind me of a cross between The Corpse Bride and Cindy Lauper and her songs, like Didi’s all sound alike. Too I think ‘quirky’ a word becoming way overused this season. Someone send the panel a Thesaurus.

Wednesday night opener had Ryan doing some sort of strange pretend military type scene with walking in front of the guys and shouting their names into their faces. Only Alex Lambert seemed to acknowledge the ridiculousness of this and could not stop giggling.

Lee Dewyze picked that horrible song that is being overplayed on the radio, “Firefly” by some band named Owl or something. (Google is your friend.) He was stiff, and sounded pretty terrible on my end. I did get a chuckle out of his seemingly earnest delivery of such a stupid song. I find him dull and lifeless with a complete lack of personality or spark of any kind. I could care less what the judges had to say, did not write it down so can’t recall.

Giggling mullet-boy, Alex Lambert has an interesting voice but please, after Taylor Hicks did Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble” during his season on the show, Alex should not have gone there. Thin imitation of the song and Hicks still rules it for the show.
Taylor Hicks, “Trouble” (Alex’s version needs not be posted.)

The Vote for the Worst pick, Tim Urban, found a bit more of a voice this week and did the song that helped make Jason Castro so popular on the show, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. Tim played acoustic guitar, (which seemed the rage tonight) and delivered his best vocal yet. Best thing about the night so far, Ellen pulled a new judge trick and actually rushed the stage. The look of near fear on Timmy’s face hilarious. Good TV moment.

Gokeycia, aka Andrew Garcia peaked too soon, Kara said. Hell I think he was just a fluke this entire time. Had his best moment in Hollywood week and it’s been down hill ever since. He tried to do to “Genie in a Bottle” (Christina Aguilera) ala the “Straight Up” Paula Abdul tune and failed miserably. It was beyond terrible and I hope he goes home soon or we’ll see his goggled mug on the VFTW banner before this season ends. He continues to show he has no vocal range, tone, melody or personality.

Thank the music gods Casey James left that Jessica Simpson look behind, he came out with messy ponytail, acoustic guitar and did a Keith Urban song, “Think of Me”. I’m not a Keith Urban fan so not familiar with his music but I thought Casey did an excellent job, excellent, especially after what I had endured previously. He still needs to let it go and set himself free on that stage. Man, find that inner wild man spirit, I know it’s in there someplace…

Girly boy Aaron Kelly was up next, looks like he’s trying to grow out those previously over plucked eyebrows. He sticks to his usual country type vibe and does “I’m Already There” by Lonestar. Now regarding Lonestar, all I know is that Hallmark has a Sound card out with one of their songs, saw that at the local Walgreens when birthday card shopping last week. He’s quite terrible.

Good Singing? Yes that’s what was said of Todrick (Fraudrick) Hall’s weak yet theatrical Adam Lambert impersonation during his song choice, “Somebody to Love”. Funny comment from the judges’ panel – he sounds so Broadway. Hello, back in the initial auditions he told them he had done Broadway in that musical Fantasia was in, so no revelation here, they knew what they were getting from the start.

Big Mike, Michael Lynche, styled himself donning a suit ensemble on the top of his torso ending with jeans and sneakers. He was by far the most entertaining of the night.

Michael Lynche definitely showed some range in his vocals, but I’m not sure if that was a good thing. Big Mike went from vocals that sounded like dolphin cries, in “This Woman’s Work” to bellowing out the big low long notes ala Reuben Studdard.

RandyTheBoBo slobbered all over himself, Ellen declared OMG!!! Then we had the beauty that was Kara crying as if she’s in the midst of a hormonal surge combined with too many shots of Tequila. Simon could barely speak with Kara’s watery mess next to him. Now that was entertainment.

My picks for going home, Aaron Kelly, Fraudrick, Paige Miles and Katelyn Epperly.