Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Please let this one be the one where Terl dies

Final Four time! I’m having a hard time mustering any enthusiasm for Idol tonight. The Braves are on, election returns are coming in, and I have some good stuff on the TiVo I haven’t gotten to yet. And I have an acute case of PCSCPVS. (that’s Post Carly & Seal Clapper Psychic Visions Syndrome). Plus, I’m exhausted.

Oh well. Here we go. What the fuck is with Ryan’s hair? He’s continuing with that bizarre “ridge” across the top. It’s like he’s Ultra Man or a Klingon or something. Tonight we’ll be hearing some of the 500 most influential songs in rock and roll. At least that will be more entertaining than a barrage of sound-alike Mariah melisma.

David Cook is batting leadoff, singing Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf.” He does an uptempo, straightforward “rock” version of it, leaving out some of the signature Durany and 80s elements, but it’s nonetheless enjoyable. Randy thought it was okay, Simon thought it was “copycat” (I disagree, but I get his point – it wasn’t a drastic reworking) and Paula commented on only one song, so she’s got that going for her. First song: 7.5

Syesha is next, doing “Proud Mary.” Finally, something that is well suited to her robo-bombast. She looks the best she’s ever looked and moves like she means it. I not only liked the performance, which was very solid, but I actually liked her, which I haven’t all season. I still feel wistful, because Carly would have torn that shit up vocally, but even grading on a Syesha curve, that was good. First song: 8

Here comes Psychlo Terl. Let me guess: James Taylor. Or is there one of the 500 songs that is dreary, lazy and whispered? What could this be? Okay, he’ll be doing Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff.” Holy dreadlocked airhead, could I hate this guy any more? Not for the song choice, because both Bob’s and Slowhand’s versions of the tune are classics. But he’s such a no talent slacker doofus, as evidenced in his intro package. And it’s just more of the same, except that he probably realizes this one wasn’t sung by a cat. Weakly voiced, rhythm-free, and I’ve seen more authentic Rasta on the first tee at a suburban country club. He gets excoriated by the judges, and Terl’s response? A spleef-induced proclamation of “Bob Marley!” and a shit eating grin. Can we please make him go home? First song: 1

Stuffed Koala Bear is next, and I’m sure he’ll choose some sappy, inspirational song. He’ll be going with “Stand By Me,” which is a great song, but not that far from where I thought he would wind up vocally. (I should look up this list of 500 songs, as there are probably not that many bad ones on it. But could he ever choose something unexpected or surprising or edgy? Or would daddy beat him if he did?) Looks like he’s remembering some of ALW’s “stop squinting” directives. His voice is okay, the arrangement is okay, and the net result is just okay. Certainly not the soulful showstopper the tweens (and Randy) are making it out to be. Simon thinks it was the best of the first round? Did he get a contact high from Terl? Was it just that big of an improvement compared to the dreck we just witnessed? First Song: 6

David is back with song number 2, and he’ll be doing “Baba O’Reilly.” Will the James Dobson morons dock him points (like they did with Carly) because it references “teenage wasteland?” Very tuneful and moody beginning to the song, building to the power chorus. Hard to compress an epic song into a minute or two, but he’s in great voice. Like Paula, I wanted “more.” Unlike Paula, I didn’t wasn’t “humbled to sit here and watch his soul.” So first, she’s Desmond from Lost, traveling through time, and now she’s Miles, the fucking ghostbuster from Lost? Shouldn’t she be pimping shows on her own network? Or perhaps she doesn’t realize what network she’s on? (“Oh, David, I’m looking at your aura and diagnosing your soulful tuneyness like Dr. House.”) Anyhoo, great performance from David. Second song: 9

Syesha will do her second song, “A Change is Gonna Come.” It’s nice to hear her more friendly, but I was a little put off by her comparison of the era of the original song, a “pivotal time in history,” (the civil rights movement) and her appearance in Idol’s final four. Now, no one told me where to sit on the bus or what water fountain to drink from, but that strikes me as a little tone deaf and insulting. But I’ll leave that for others to judge. But I can judge the performance, which was “classic” Syesha: shrieky and screaming and overblown and completely unmelodic. The seal clapper makes her cry with ridiculous praise that makes her cry, and inexplicably Simon agrees with her. And she goes to the “civil rights” and “American Idol” well again! Good lord. 4 for the second song, and 0.1 intellectually insulting analogies.

Psychlo Terl is back again to assault our eyes, ears and sensibilities. Of course he’s going to choose “Mister Tambourine Man. Even when performing a Bob Dylan song, he can’t make the mumbly, wafer thing vocal thing work for him. And he fucks up the lyrics and misses an entire verse! Can we just put him down like that horse at the Derby this weekend? Except in terms of “ending suffering,” we wouldn’t be ending his, we’d be ending ours at having to endure this tool week after week. Surely this will be the final nail in his coffin. Second song: 1

Little Koala Bear will be doing “Love Me Tender.” This will make his text message voting audience cream their Strawberry Shortcake panties. Once again, he’s just okay for me. I just don’t get the vibe he puts down, and he’s certainly pales in comparison to The King. Second song: 6.

Numerically, this is easy to sort out. David 16.5. Syesha 12. Terl 2. Koala 12. While Koala was consistent, but overpraised, Syesha was erratic and displayed a maddening return to the melisma that nauseates and makes me appreciate her first song less. How bout this:

TNRLM Top 1: David

TNRLM Bottom 1: Terl


  1. I know just where you are coming from about being ambivalent about watching at this point. Except for David C whom I love and am simply waiting for an album to buy, I am done.

    I loved Jason in the beginning but when he got bored with it, he really threw in the towel. He has publicly said he is ready to go and I think he is purposefully doing as little as possible hoping to be gone. Of course after Paula let the scripted cat out of the bag last week, who can blame him?

    I agree Syesha has moments and can pull herself out now and again. She's still horribly fake an disconnected to me. Koala bear has a beautiful voice with absolutely no emotional connection to any song since "imagine".

    David C s the real deal and knows it and I just hope the drek they make him sing in the finale won't ruin his budding career.

    Did you see the look on Carly's face? I think it was when Jason was singing or had finished and you could see all over her face "I got kicked out and THAT is what they kept in???"

    Sad sad sad. I think the show is going to have to work hard to overcome this "best season ever".

  2. I may tune in for the remaining two contests, unless, of course, the unthinkable happens and David C goes home. If that happens, this year's mess will be completely dead to me.

    Your observation about Carly is just priceless. In hindsight, I'm sure that's what she was thinking. Or, "I'm shocked! I thought that blog writer was going to fly out here and steal me away from my coloring book of a husband."

    They made some tweaks this year, and TV in general, across all genres, suffered from the strike's effect on viewing habits. But they're going to have to do some serious damage control and retooling in the offseason to staunch the viewer fatigue and dissatisfaction. I think that may be the subject of a post coming up.