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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Idol Eyes: Shania Week

Siobhan went to the yell one too many times.
Casey James and Shania Twain on the same screen? That's a whole lot of beautiful, people. Give me a moment to prepare . . .

In the meantime, I just want to say that after a couple weeks of reflection (and a sudden reminder from Ms. Twain) that Simon was dead-on with his statement that Katie should have been singing country. Whether it's right for her or not, who knows, but there is no one for country fans to vote for on this season, and Katie could have owned that segment.

Okay, I'm ready.

Lee DeWyze
Still the One
Shania gave Lee some great advice, although it forced him to expose a weak spot in his repertoire: the soft and slow vibe. Lee doesn't have a middle ground between throaty emotional outburst and quiet contemplation. The first few bars were sleepy and sloppy, but once he opened up the song it sounded great. For the most part. Lee' definitely come the farthest, although I still wonder what Alex Lambert could have been had America the slightest clue about who belonged in the top 12. Oh well.
Odds of Going Home: 9 to 1

Michael Lynche
It Only Hurts When I Breathe
Lee could learn a lot from Michael, because he lives in the soft, slow, and tender vibe. I don't recall ever hearing this song, but I know it didn't sound quite like this. Michael is probably the best of the group at putting his signature on a song. It's weird, I think Michael is one of the best performers on the show, but I don't know if he has a chance of winning this thing OR succeeding in the business. Then again, he could be the next Jennifer Hudson, I don't know. I like the guy, though. I really like him.
Odds of Going Home: 6 to 1

Casey James
There was a brief moment, maybe 5 or 6 notes out of the mentor clip, when Casey and Shania harmonized together, and that got me a little excited. Casey's performance did that too. Wow. I think Shania absolutely shot a bullseye through Casey's psyche, and the truth of what she said came through in the song. He seemed like that guy who was a little worried the only reason he's in this thing has been his looks. And he finally decided to express himself musically. And also looked amazing. Moving on . . .
Odds of Going Home: 8 to 1

Crystal Bowersox
No One Needs to Know
The biggest shock of this one is the song choice. It's sort of a guilty pleasure of mine, but I didn't peg Crystal as the "guilty pleasure song" kind of girl. It seems too light and fluffy for her. But I'm glad she's taking on new things. I like that she made a personal statement in an Idol performance. I like that she played with the song so much almost to the point of improvisation. I'm just a little worried she's about to get Daughtried.
Odds of Going Home: hmm . . . I don't want to say. 7 to 1

Aaron Kelly
You Got a Way
Shania is a really good mentor. I mean, she's one of the all-time hit machines in music history, so I shouldn't be surprised. But up to this point all the singers clearly belong here. Aaron is just on a lower tier. But holy crap, he was leagues better than he's ever been. The teeny boppers who've been voting this kid through every week won't have to look back in shame upon their actions tonight.
Odds of Going Home: 6 to 1. Crazy, I know.

Siobhan Magnus
Any Man of Mine
Siobhan doing a straight-up rendition of Shania's original hit. All she did was add a high note and a Broadway finale. For me, it was an absolute Twain wreck (blame Ellen for that pun). Her rhythm was off. Her delivery was as bland and soft as unsalted butter. The whole thing was a syncopative mess. (I was going to say syncopatory, but it turns out that's not an actual word. Neither is syncopatorial. They are both such non-words that googling them results in zero results, which means this page should be the only result you'll find. If you need a one-hit google term, you're welcome.) They'll go back and watch this and see what Shania saw: it was bad.
Odds of Going Home: 2 to 1.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Idol Eyes: Idol Gives Up

It hurts to hear, doesn't it, Tim?
Alicia Keys mentors the final 7 in the ways of inspirational, off-pitch singing. I can't wait. So I won't.

Casey James
"Don't Stop Thinkin' About Tomorrow," complete with Huey Lewissian grit, Marty McFlyesque guitar solos, and Man-Barbie dreaminess. It started weak and pitchy and just fizzled out in a whimpering pile of yeah-yeah-yeah's. Inspire-o-meter: 5
Odds of Going Home: a very sad 4 to 1

Lee DeWyze
The unpolished throaty wailer takes on a really curious choice of song from a clean-cut perfectionist of a musician, Paul Simon. "The Boxer" is not what I think of when the Inspirational genre gets discussed, but he did alright with it. I kind of wished he had replaced the lai-la-lai's with "Lee DeWyze, Lee DeWyze, Lee-Lee DeWyze," but he probably made the right call. Inspire-o-meter: 7
Odds of Going Home: 13 to 1

Tim Urban
Is Tim going to give the best performance of Inspiration Week? Oh . . . no, no, not at all. I don't know what exactly you said to him, Alicia, but I think it may have been just the thing to get rid of this kid. His rendition of that silly little Goo Goo Dolls song was definitely not goo-good. Two words: Sha. Ky. Inspire-o-meter: the singing is a 2, but the fact that he is very likely going home is a 10.
Odds of Going Home: 3 to 1

Aaron Kelly
Aaron < R. in the battle of the Kellies. When I hear a 16 year old is taking on R. Kelly, I get a bad case of the heebie jeebies, I'm not gonna lie. Aaron's singing didn't help. If you believe it, you can achieve it? Hmm . . . I don't know how well you believed it. The judges, at this point, are trying to salvage the integrity of the show by being nice to these people, but this season is a disaster. Inspire-o-meter: 4
Odds of Going Home: Justin Bieber to Reality

Siobhan Magnus
Mariah and Whitney in one song? I hope you brought your claws, Siobhan, because one of those two ladies is bound to rush the stage and Kanye you into next week. All joking aside, this was a terrible song choice and a pretty boring performance. Without the intrigue of hitting the high notes, the song is completely without quirk, so Little Miss Quirky really should have picked something else and skipped the NyQuil bottle I have to assume she chugged before hitting the stage. Although it is pretty hilarious to say Siobhan is being too dramatic on Inspiration Night. Inspire-o-meter: 4
Odds of Going Home: 4 to 1

Michael Lynche
Remember when Chad Kroeger took an artistic break from the indie/alt-rock shackles of Nickelback and really let the art of Spider-Man consume him? "Hero" was not a great song for Michael. I thought maybe he could breathe life into it in an Andrew Garcia "Straight Up" kind of way. But it made him sound like a vocal lightweight. You really don't want to leave people thinking, "Well, he's not Chad Kroeger." Okay, maybe you do, but not in the way we were thinking it. Inspire-o-meter: Nickel
Odds of Going Home: Scary

Crystal Bowersox
Well, Crystal you really had to hear and see. Her "People Get Ready" was pretty much just a warning that the tears were a-comin' for her and for you. Pretty amazing. Inspire-o-meter: Damn, girl.
Odds of Going Home: Nil

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Idol Eyes: Double Elimination & the King

Talent has left the building.
So I didn't review last week except for a few tweets, and the judges matched my laziness by refusing to allow any of the contestants to leave. Mike got saved, two people are going home this week, and we no longer have to watch the judges pretend to deliberate whether they'll stave off execution. With Adam Lambert as Elvis's stand-in, this week should be fun. Here we go, here we go:

Crystal Bowersox
Crystal's singing Big Mike's song, "Saved," and she did your basic gospel rock track. I didn't love it. I can't remember how the song went, and I just heard it thirty seconds ago. I mean, it rocked. It rolled. It kinda bored me to death. Oh, and look: Kara's wearing a camouflage parachute. Fun!
Odds of Going Home: 12 to 1

Andrew Garcia
Andrew is clearly an Elvis guy. I hope he does "Suspicious Minds," but I'm not sure it will matter. I don't know that he can really hope to avoid the bottom 2 this week. He's doing "Hound Dog," which isn't surprising, since his best songs are completely devoid of lyrical complexity. I like this guy. I like his voice. I like the way he almost took out the judges with his mic stand. But that fell flat. Will anyone ever look back on this performance with fondness? Kara's criticizing Andrew for not being Elvis . . . yeah, guess what, chica? Nobody's Elvis but Elvis, and he's . . . well.
Odds of Going Home: 2 to 1

Tim Urban
Oh crap. Is Lambert gonna really teach this kid who to do something slightly less snoreworthy? Oh, okay, no.  He started out all staccato and robotic in his rendition of "I Can't Help (Falling in Love {with You})". He had about 4 seconds of great performance, and hundreds of other second-long doses of crap. And can I just say how fed up I am with the use of singer/songwriter as an adjective? May I? Thanks. I am fed up all the way to 200. For perspective, I'm fed up with the Cubs losing at about a 250. Thousand.
Odds of Going Home: Apparently never, no matter what

Lee DeWyze
Hey, Adam convinced Lee to stop doing his Droopy impression (killer, by the way) during every performance, and the advice really paid off. He finally looked comfortable on stage, albeit in a singing-like-this-hurts-like-a-thousand-blisters kind of way. "A Little Less Conversation," brought a little bit more facial expression. I dig this cat.
Odds of Going Home: 10 to 1

Aaron Kelly
Aaron looked like he was afraid Lambert would eat him during the mentor segment, and that fear seemed to carry over into tonight. He even forgot to wear "Blue Suede Shoes." Did you see SNL when Justin Beiber was singing provocative lyrics to Tina Fey, lyrics he clearly recited by memory cuz the boy's got no idea what the rock's going on? Yeah, that just happened again.
Odds of Going Home: 5 to 1

Siobhan Magnus
She did "Suspicious Minds," and she also got great advice from Lambert, which surprisingly didn't consist of "scream more." To me, it was her first really complete performance. She showed there was, in fact, a segment of her vocal range between deep, brooding treacle and glass-breaking shrieks. Kara's an idiot. Simon turned deaf. The judges really aren't paying attention. I mean, she's not an amazingly polished performer, but Siobhan can perform like crazy, and not just literally.
Odds of Going Home: 9 to 1

Michael Lynche
Nobody can top Cartman's performance, but Mike's "Ghetto" was so smooth and gripping. I'll say this: his performance was the only one all night that made me care in the slightest about what the song meant. Michael being in the bottom 3 last week was high idiocy. His place as the potential loser was ridiculii. There aren't three performers better than he is. Wake up, America.
Odds of Going Home: Stupid to Dumb.

Katie Stevens
Be believable? Huh, who would think that advice would work? Katie's "Baby, What Do You Want Me to Do?" should have been interrupted by a little reminder from Lambert, because she obviously forgot the gist. She kind of sang like she was mildly irritated, not angry. She practically yawned the first 30 seconds of the song. Not good.
Odds of Going Home: 5 to 1

Casey James
"Lawdy Miss Clawdy," a song with which I was completely unfamiliar, sounded like a song I'd actually want to hear again. Novel concept. The song climaxed early and trailed off fast, but it was still miles ahead of most of these people. I think sometimes when they so obviously rush the show, the contestants sense what's going on and rush their performances a bit. It was like Casey was afraid he was going to force the end of Glee off America's DVRs. It will be less of a problem in the coming weeks, but it doesn't strike me as particularly fair. Ironically, Glee started a bit early, and I've got to finish this stupid recording to see the first part of it. Ugh.
Odds of Going Home: 13 to 1

Here's who I think is on their way out: Katie and Andrew. It's hard to care at this point with all the dreadful that shows no sign of leaving.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Idol Eyes Migraine Substitute

I can't do an Idol recap this week, at least not tonight. Computer screens + my eyes is a five-minutes at a time deal right now before it triggers a migraine and I get nauseous. If I'm watching Tim Urban sing while that happens, so help me, I will yak all over this keyboard.

In lieu of that, I'll give you this little episode from the Kellogg house tonight. Addison has been quoting Shel Silverstein poems lately; he just loves them. So tonight before bed he treated me to a recital of "Ridiculous Rose." Here goes:


Her mama said, "Don't eat with your fingers!"
"Okay," said Ridiculous Rose.
So she ate with her toes.

And then he added, "What if her name was Ridiculous Rutt?" Peals. Of. Laughter. Mostly his, but I'm not made of steel, what am I supposed to say? That's not funny?