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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Idol Eyes - The Rat Pack

Ah . . . at last we're down to five. Now we have plenty of time to hear all four judges ramble on. We don't even have to rush to try to get a performance in before the first commercial break. And the surprise Rat-Pack-era judge? Jamie Foxx. And if you think about it*, it makes sense. Still, Mr. Foxx seemed to do a pretty good job, judging by the results.

*If by "think about it" you mean not even a little.

Kris Allen
Kris is still doing his "you're so in love with me, right?" thing. And he's right. Oh, he's ever so dreamy. His take on "The Way You Look Tonight" was tactically brilliant. There he was, eyes wet with cool, crooning in all his Bublé-esque please-punch-me glory. He doesn't have the range of the other singers, but he's got a pretty sweet niche carved out . . . the screaming, hormone-crazed girl niche. He's also got a good voice, an increasingly expert grasp of reverb exploitation, and a nice touch. I'll admit it, the guy knows his way around a song.
He's staying. Darn it all.

Allison Iraheta
I've always been a big fan of Allison's, and I'm so glad she made it this far. I still think she'll stick around one more week, but her time is coming. In some seasons (especially next season . . . I've seen the future, and they're terrible in AI 9) I think Allison would have had a good shot of sticking around until the finals, but not this time. She looked great (warning, criticism approaching) and she sounded great (okay, here it comes) but her phrasing was off. It was like every measure was a separate performance . . . or that she learned the whole song phonetically. But I still love her. 
Insert corny "Someone to Watch Over Me" joke here.

Matt Giraud
"My Funny Valentine," huh? You studied jazz in college. You know what I studied in college? Psychology. I took a whole class. In summer school. And I got an A. So let me give you a little evaluation: you got a jacked-up brain hiding out under that jauntily cocked little cap, son. I'm glad Simon liked the performance, but in the words of Will Smith, "Aw HAIL no." It's not that it was bad, but . . . "I like jazz" is not the right motivation when you're in the top 5 of American Idol. The vocals were alright, especially after you got past the initial "I want to start slow and boring to make the end sound better" stage, but . . . no. That's not a vote getter. If this were Jazz Idol, maybe you would be advancing (but I definitely wouldn't be watching). I don't know why I'm writing this review as if you're reading this, Matt, it's really nothing personal.
There's a reason behind the pictures I choose, you know?

Danny Gokey
Danny, welcome back! His "Come Rain or Come Shine" was sunny, money, and dipped in honey. Seriously, after a few weeks of sleepwalking through safe and boring performances, finally Danny turned it on. I don't know if he should have said he could see the finish line (a bit cocky) or smiled so dreamily into all the judges' faces (a bit creepy), but the singing was on. He started quiet but strong and then exploded into the final riffs of soulful improv that Taylor Hicks could only dream of. Nice job.
The only question is if Danny or Kris will visit the bottom three.

Adam Lambert
This guy is such a showman, it's hysterical. I mean, he has choreographed every note, wardrobe decision, and facial expression right down to the calculation of the shadows cast by his cockatoo coif. He's obviously through to the next round and probably more talented than anyone this show's ever seen. But will he get the votes in the final weeks . . . probably. Enough people don't like him that it could get interesting later on. He's pretty much the AI Obama.
I'm only typing something in bold because I decided at this point I should make predictions on everyone.


  1. Cockatoo Coif? Dude, you crack me up...almost burnt my tongue on my $1.38 Speedway fat free cappuccino. I think Matt, Kris & Allison will be bottom 3. Not sure though if Matt or Allison will go home. I think Kris is too much of a heart throb for the young girls and he will stay. I am going to take a chance and say Matt will go home...Another Awesome review! I'm surprised you didn't mention Paula's Red dress that blossomed.

  2. Ha! Don't you love the fact that he says "Dude" to the girl contestants more than to the guys?

    And sorry for overlooking Paula's dress. I thought it looked like one of those gigantic bows people put on top of cars when they give them as presents in commercials.

  3. OK, so what's wrong with Matt carving out a Jazz niche in AI? It's no different than Carrie Underwood being country or Allison being rock. There's enough room for the Jazz genre, don't ya think?

    I pick Allison to be the next to go home. I hope....

  4. Beav, it's not that jazz is forbidden, it's just . . . he hasn't really sung any jazz all season, and he wasn't really that good at it. He's not carving, he's kind of stabbing at niches all over the place. That's just dangerous.

    But if Matt thinks there are enough jazz-loving Idol viewers out there, more power to him.

    I know you like him, but he has been too inconsistent in his performance quality and haphazard in his song choice to really succeed. He's a good singer, but not the best AI competitor, you know?

  5. Totally disappointed that there is no mention of Paula's dress. Even Lauren commented. :)

    I will call

    5th- Matt
    4th- Allison
    3rd- Danny
    2nd- Kris
    1st- Adam


    Just watched the AI results. I had a bad feeling for Matt this week. I did really like Matt and I kept remembering him from Hollywood. He was so awesome, especially behind the keyboard - reminded me of another Billy Joel. Too bad. I had hoped that the top two would have been Adam & Matt. Who do you think will be the top two now?

    What do you think of Adam being in the bottom 3? Are his theatrics wearing on some of the viewers?

  7. Well, I said he'd have to worry later on, but I didn't imagine that would take effect last night.

    One thing to remember is, nobody votes against anybody. You call and vote for the people you want to win, so . . . that makes it pretty wide open, you know? There's a fundamental change in the logistics once the group gets down to five and two phone lines open up, essentially doubling the capacity for non-text voting for each contestant.

    What I mean is, each phone number can only handle so many calls in any given window of time. When each contestant is assigned only one number, the most popular contestants are most likely maxed out for close to the entirety of the voting period. The bottom three in that situation are those who don't generate maximum interest or at least those who sustain maximum voting activity for the shortest amount of time. AI doesn't count all attempted phone calls, only the ones that are successful.

    Let's use an example with some numbers I'm selecting totally arbitrarily. Imagine, it's the round of the final 7 and each phone number is capable of handling a maximum of 3 million calls during the voting period. The attempted votes might look like this:

    Adam: 30 million
    Allison: 15 million
    Anoop: 10 million
    Danny: 25 million
    Kris: 28 million
    Lil: 9 million
    Matt: 11 million

    But the number of calls that actually got through could be:

    Adam: 3 million
    Allison: 2.5 million
    Anoop: 2 million
    Danny: 3 million
    Kris: 3 million
    Lil: 1.9 million
    Matt: 2.1 million

    So in that particular week, Adam could have had 5 million more people trying to vote for him than Danny did, but the final tally might show no difference. But with two phone numbers, the capacity for handling calls doubles for each contestant, making it much harder to max out the phone lines and much easier to differentiate the popularity between the top vote getters.

    So in the final 5, the call attempts may have looked like this:

    Adam: 20 million
    Allison: 27 million
    Danny: 28 million
    Kris: 22 million
    Matt: 15 million

    The actual tally in that scenario may have come out this way (out of a maximum of 6 million):

    Adam: 4.5 million
    Allison: 5.5 million
    Danny: 5.7 million
    Kris: 5 million
    Matt: 4 million

    The lesson here: if you find it remarkably easy to get through when you're voting for your favorite, you better keep on dialing something fierce.

    The other thing to consider is, when Lil and Anoop dropped off the map, what were their fans most likely to do? If you liked Anoop, who would you like among those remaining? If you liked Lil, who would you turn to? In my opinion, the biggest beneficiaries of those votes would be Danny, Kris, and Allison. More importantly, I think Adam is probably not too many people's second favorite. I think he's most likely to be either your clear favorite or the guy you don't want to see win. Because nobody, and I mean nobody, matches up with him stylewise. At all. So every week it will get harder and harder for him to gain new votes.

    However, I think this was a clear wake-up call for Adam fans. They may have grown complacent during the judges' droolfest the last few weeks. But that probably won't happen again.

    It should be interesting next week. Final four means someone can have a phenomenal performance and still go home.

  8. Wow - I love that kind of feedback on comments so I thank you for that.

    I agree that, artistically, NOBODY comes even close to Adam. Ever since the judges made the comment about him being so "Rocky Horror Picture Show", I can't seem to get that image out of my mind when I see him perform now. He seemed very Broadway this week also.

    For me I didn't like Adam AT ALL in the beginning but I grew to respect his obvious artistic tallent. Then he seemed to go over the top just enough to make it seem a little TOO theatrical for me. It is taking me back to the place where I was initially saying "What the hell?" So what IS his niche or genre? I think it's the same thing you were saying about Matt not knowing his niche.

    So with your comment to think about, with Matt being gone now, who do I turn to now to take his place? Hmmm, probably Kris (bet you thought I was gonna say Danny)!


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