Steven "Methuselah" Tyler starts off the program by singing "there's something wrong with the world today." He's right, but that also includes the World of Idol. A very boring menu of musical shlockotainment, where some of the parents were more entertaining than their kids.
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After a bunch of irrelevant banter, the night starts off with a thud as Naima Adedapo and her flower come out on the long stairway. We find out that her mom and dad are as Rastafarian as she is. Jimmy Iovine makes her cry, because she's willing to go on tour without her kids for four months. She's doing this for them. In fairness, if Naima makes the tour, she looking at making at least $100,000, which is not too shabby.
So what does Naima pick as her year of birth 1984 song? Something that's a 180 from her life, with two kids. Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It"? She should know better with those two cute kids. Everything!
And then the immediate thud, like an actor in the "Spiderman" play. The whole first verse would make the Flat Earth Society proud. She recovers a bit in the chorus, but the damage is done, even though the arrangement is good and Naima otherwise has a lot of talent. She already has Reality TV experience, since she was on P. Diddy's hip-hop dance-based music competition.
Methuselah and Jenny Not From The Block have read Randy's Dawg Dictionary as they consistently use the word "pitchy." In Yiddish, it means "small." The word is not helpful. Is the singer below the key, or above it? Or both? She needs to be told whether she's "flat" or "sharp" to work on the problem. And if she was sick, instead of crying, she should have asked to see an ear, nose, and throat doctor.
I wish someone asked Naima if she thought people would be willing to pay 20 bucks a ticket to see her perform if she's going to sing parts of every song flat.
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Booze
Gotta love Paul McDonald. One of these weeks, he's going to come out in a chicken suit, and sing "Old McDonald had a farm . . ." while doing the Turkey Trot or the Mashed Potato.
Former contestant Alex Wagner Trugman sang it better. If Paul was that sick, a little swag of Alabama Hooch or Bulgarian Slivovitz might have helped, because he sounded positively drunk warbling and yelping an otherwise pretty easy to sing Elton John song. He spares the audience a few seconds here and there with his "come ons" and "y'alls". Even Paul knew he stunk, because after he finished, he saw headlights, a deer, and six hunters with their rifles pointed at him.
Methuselah talks about Paul's "Loose Moves." Maybe next week, his pants will fall down. Its been killing me trying to figure out who Paul sounds like. Back in the early 1970's, I would listen to Bruce Morrow (Cousin Brucie) on WABC radio in New York a few nights a week, a million years ago when it was a music station, and there was this guy, who turns out to have been one of the Beatles' recording engineers, who became a one-hit wonder at age 49. His name was Norman "Hurricane" Smith, and he had a big hit called "Oh Babe, What Would You Say" which I absolutely could not stand. That's who Paul sounds like. On 70's night, he needs to sing that song or "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" by Leo Sayer.
Pablum Is Not A Color Thia
Megia thinks this is 2002 and pulls out "Colors Of The Wind" from the Disney movie "Pocahontas." She sings it well, but even if a house painter does a great job, you don't want to watch it dry.
Vocal coach from hell Peggy Blu says nothing in the audience. The woman sitting next to her looks like Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe. Meanwhile, Randy brings out Amanda Overmyer, who yells, "Ballads Are Boring!"
Richie Sambora Is Not James's "Friend"
When they said James Durbin would sing "I'll Be There For You", I was wondering if Jennifer Aniston was in the audience along with Kate Hudson and her boyfriend, the lead singer of British rock band Muse, Matt Bellamy. But it was Bon Jovi's song with same title that one-hit wonder The Rembrandts would have several years later.
James is a little off-key, and he makes up for his comparatively weak voice with some good high-pitched wails. Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora have much stronger voices than James, at least this week.
The director was hell-bent on focusing on James's Tourette's Syndrome. Jimmy Iovine advised James to develop Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by washing his hands frequently, but I bet James already has it. He seems to have everything else. Methuselah proclaims his love for Oscar Madison by saying he has sandwiches under his bed that are older than James. But in the middle of all the laying it on thick and uberpraise going on last night, Methuselah said something very important to James: "Don't Go Poppy On Me." No, he's not telling him to hate my dad. He's telling him in a very subtle way that most rock people don't think Bon Jovi is a rock band anymore. Last season, Lee DeWyze sort of advertised himself as a "rocker" by singing alleged rock songs that are never played on rock radio stations. James would do well to follow Methuselah's advice. Especially since heavy metal people don't think Aerosmith is a rock band. Methuselah also threatens to sing on the Grand Finale. That means 10 weeks of organic bread and water.
That Wasn't Lipstick On Her Face
It was ketchup, which had been combined with egg on her face. Not only after Haley Reinhart poorly sang Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight", but somehow appearing in front of 20 million people with red all over her face. She needed her parents to back her up on something more suited for her. Did Ryan Seacrest spit into that tissue? I hope not, because that would have meant a trip to the Emergency Dermatological Unit at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Haley says she'd like to star in the next remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Lipstick Massacre." I think Haley will be in the Bottom Three, but Karen will save her sorry tushy. But sooner or later, Stephanie Abrams will return to her day job at The Weather Channel.
All The Songs That He Could Have Sung . . .
Stefano Langone could have pulled a Casey by singing New Kids On The Block, Milli Vanilli, or Funky Cold Medina. Instead, he selects "If You Don't Know Me By Now", the Simply Red Cover of the original by Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes. No one will ever confuse Stefano with the late, great Teddy Pendergrass, lead singer of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (yes, there is a Harold Melvin as well). He certainly comes in third behind the lead singer of Simply Red, Mick Hucknall. But at least Stefano wasn't Holding Back The Years and went all out. Its the best possible rendition he could have done for his level of talent, which is pretty good, but not world-class like Pendergrass was.
Stefano will have no reason to blame anything on the rain this week. Because everyone before him was awful, he gets over-praised by the judges.
Next Week: Mariah
Could they please stop with Pia Toscano's Zaydie (my wife told me someone reported that Pia's mom is Jewish). A lot of people have a sob story like that. Because my Zaydie died at almost the same age from melanoma, and it was no picnic. Besides, Pia has enough talent so that she doesn't need the extra help. One poster on the blogs wrote that Pia decided to show that she's not just a balladeer by picking another ballad, but singing it faster. The beginning sounded like a mess, which I attribute to a bad arrangement. Once she hits the chorus, I recognize the song, Whitney Houston's "Where Do Broken Hearts Go." She sings it well from that point on, and wails out a bunch of pitch-perfect glory notes. She's been listening to Randy Jackson, who threw the "Mariah, Whitney, and Celine" line at her last week. He even told Pia that she was playing for the $200 million Mega Millions Jackpot, because she's "in it to win it!" She'll sing a Mariah Carey song next week, since she's now done Whitney and Celine. She's probably also listening to her mom's CD's. Pia has got to realize that she's not eating pizza on Cross Bay Boulevard anymore. This is Idol, and she's the most talented singer in the competition. My problem with her is that her song choices are boring and disappointing. Especially after one blog reported that she was going to sing The Bangles' version of "Hazy Shade Of Winter" (original by Simon & Garfunkel), which would have been so much better.
Since Pia went to the Performing Arts High School in Manhattan, I think Debbie Allen needs to hit her with her stick and make her pick better songs. I'm not sure who got this critique, but Methselah praised one of the contestants for good "phrasing". That's the first time in 10 seasons that I've heard that word on American Idol. Just for that, it was worth bringing Methuselah on as a judge.
Here's A Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares
That's the only Travis Tritt song I know. Which is how I felt about Scotty McCreery this week. Scotty sings something called "Can I Trust You With My Heart," and the judges try to convince the audience that he switched it up because he sang a few notes a half-octave above monotone. He should have done UB40's cover of "Can't Help Falling In Love" dressed as Elvis. At least that would have been more interesting. There's some pitch problems here and there, and as much as I think Scotty will get a record deal in Nashville, he would have been in the middle of the pack of the first season of Nashville Star. Miranda Lambert, who is one of the top women in country music today and recently won a Grammy Award, finished third on that show, to two guys, Buddy Jewell and John Arthur Martinez, both of whom could sing rings around Scotty. Is his mom the one with the first name Elvira? Because if it is, The Oak Ridge Boys are on Scotty's Radar. Let's see him sing "Giddyap, Oom Papa Mau Mau" in bass baritone.
I noticed his friends call themselves "The Blue Crew." I'd think that when Scotty sings, people would think about Milwaukee's baseball team, nicknamed "The Brew Crew," and act accordingly.
So Go On Home To Your Mama
Karen Rodriguez sounded better to me on the recap clip at the end of the show than in the live (or live on tape?) performance of the overdone "Love Will Lead You Back" by Taylor Dayne. Her outfit is smashing, her hair looks like a giant chocolate ice cream cake, but her vocals? Eh. Atlantic City lounge. The Spanish helps, but I think its Adios, Vaya Con Dios for Karen. She had a nice run, and her wonderful mom will be glad to have her back. After all, her mom's love and her incredibly average singing is what will lead her back here home to New York.
Is Nirvana Officially Uncool?
When Seacrest announced that Casey Abrams would be singing "Smells Like Teen Spirit", my reaction was WHAT?! I figured only James Durbin would try that. Then I thought, maybe he's going to do Paul Anka's Big Band version (which is pretty darned good).
First sign of trouble was when Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter were seen infront of the stage, shining heavy duty Amber flashlights at Casey, singing "In The Year 3000."
Then I saw Casey with the axe, which turned out to be an electric bass, and held my breath. Within 20 seconds, I was laughing so much that I didn't hear the end. I watched it later on the computer. The opening verse sounded like he was on helium. It sounded like the Kidz Bop Kids version of Nirvana. He rallied on the screaming, but there were so many off-pitch notes on it that it didn't help much. At least he can play the bass. I'll bet even his ubercool alta cocker parents were laughing. I also give him a lot of credit for his guts to even try it, and thank him for a lot of merriment. Here We Are Now, He Entertained Us. On the other hand, my wife thought he was good, but I think the bathtub was running while Casey was singing. "Teen Spirit" was a brand of deodorant that was sold in the early 1990's, and Kurt Cobain was a bit intrigued by it. After Casey's version, that studio needed to be fumigated with a truckload of Teen Spirit. Weird Al Yankovic did a parody of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" where I think the singer's teeth kept falling out during the song. I'm surprised Casey's teeth didn't fall out. Then he'd need a dentist in addition to a gastroenterologist.
And a stylist. Why was Casey wearing an Apache Tie? They stopped selling those at Tie City around 1976. And Tie City went out of business shortly after that.
Its ironic that Randy trashed Haley for leaving her box, but praised Casey for doing so. If it wasn't St. Patrick's Day, I think a lot of rock radio deejays would have had a ball with Casey.
Not The Only One Who Had A Cold
After two duds and thuds, Lauren Alaina Suddeth pulls out a decent Country-Fried Version of "I'm The Only One" by Melissa Etheridge. After the last two weeks, Lauren wore a mask because she was in danger of having to enter the Witness Protection Program for Bad and Boring Singing. So she has no worries this week. See, she overcame the cold. Paul, on the other hand, didn't, or maybe he just plain s*cks. I like the fact that her mom went up to her attic and pulled out her Woodstock outfit. Her dad looks like he's 25, but he's proud of Lauren, as he should be.
Siobhan Magnus Syndrome
There Was A Girl From Cape Cod
Who Thought She Was Getting The Nod
But She Started to Scream And Lost Her Dream
Now She's Sitting In Her Back Yard
Has Jacob Lusk ever watched this show? Has he seen contestants have a great performance early in the season, only to crash and burn later on? Last season's Siobhan Magnus was the textbook case. She brilliantly sung "Wicked Game" and knocked everyone's socks off with "Paint It Black", but then her huge ego took over, she acted like a show-off by screaming almost every week, and the audience rightly turned on her.
Jacob absolutely wowed me with "A House Is Not A Home." He sounded like Nat King Cole if he had a great upper register. But then last week was Strike One when he got trapped in a closet with R. Kelly and a 13 year-old girl. This week, he selected "Alone" by Heart. I don't have a problem with his choosing a song by a female, but I do have a problem with all the screaming, runs, bad vibrato and general selfish show-off behavior. Jacob assessed himself correctly. His Lusky singing was Stanky. Strike Two. With the chance to sing "At This Moment" by Billy Vera and The Beaters, he could have rocketed to the top of the heap, but instead, he's got an ego the size of Ruben Studdard before he lost a lot of weight.
Randy screamed like a wrestling promoter how good Jacob was, pointing to his toning it down at the end. That comment made me think -- if a construction crew drills the street outside your house with a jackhammer until 5 o'clock in the morning, does that mean you'll be okay the next morning if you get one hour of sleep, as opposed to the jackhammer going until 6 AM? At best, the tonedown turned a D performance into a C.
So that's all she wrote for this week. For the most part, boring, sometimes even irritating. The boys still have the voting advantage, so Karen is on her way home on the Hudson River Line.
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