Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Idol Top 11: Chipmunk Strippers and Disappointing Choices

Evidently, the theme was going to be “teen hits,” which would fit with the appearance of the loathsome, hypocritical and barely talented Miley Cyrus as a guest “mentor.” (As I mentioned on twitter, what exactly is she going to “mentor” these folks in? How to be annoying? How to flip peace signs while looking like a brain damaged chipmunk? Pole dancing for tweens? Inspiring anyone over the age of 12 to punch you in the face? I actually thought it was admirable of her to defend her “controversial” Annie Leibovitz photos for Vanity Fair. However, once there was a PR kerfuffle, she backtracked, said she was embarrassed, claimed she was taken advantage of, and threw out some hollow biblical protestations. And then put on jorts suitable for a gynecological exam, climbed back up on the stripper pole, and sang about partying for 10 year olds and pervy old men with their houses raised on cinder blocks who keep a box of Kleenex beside them when they watch the Disney Channel.

But thank Cthulu for DVR delay and the FF button, so I won’t have to suffer through any more of her nonsense than required. The theme has been changed to the oh-so narrow “Billboard #1 Hits.” The picks should be interesting, and telling.

On with the show!

“The Letter”

This is one of my favorite songs. Originally done by the Box Tops, and torn apart and seared into our consciousness by Joe Cocker. Lee has the three-pack-a-day scratchiness in his voice like Cocker, but wisely he changes up his phrasing to not sound like a carbon copy, where he would no doubt pale in comparison. His vocals are soulful, energetic and fun. Great way to open the show. 7

“Against All Odds”

Paige was under the weather last week, but seems, in her interview, to be feeling better today. I’m disappointed in the choice, as this is one of those songs that has been flogged to death on Idol. The beginning is horrific – breathy, out of tune and all over the place. She actually sounds worse now than last week when she was laryngitic. She manages to hit a note or two before a complete wipe out at the finish. Awful. One of the worst performances I’ve ever seen on the show. 1


“Crazy Little Things Called Love”

The stripper chipmunk doesn’t think he’s boring, so he’s got that going for him. Which is nice. Fortunately for America, she doesn’t think for us, since yes indeedy, Tim IS boring. Despite the fact that his hair carries a microphone into the audience, he never connects with the song, and his vocals are really flat. “Have some fun with it” is now the new “I sucked, but I’m not gonna get defensive and argumentative with the judges.” It wasn’t abysmal like the previous performance, just utterly lame and forgettable. 4

“I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”

From the interview package, it’s apparent Aaron wants to pull the denim spray paint off of Miley’s labia. However, since she’s still technically a Disney Tartlet (and he’s even younger than her, with overgelled hair), they’ll have to settle for fingerbanging in the back booth at a Chucky Cheese. Another terrible song choice. You have literally thousands of interesting songs to choose from, and you select a shitty Diane Warren ballad? Gah. This makes me want to see Ben Affleck walk animal crackers down Liv Tyler’s goody trail, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. An insipid, uninspiring performance, possibly affected by his health problems. 4

“Me and Bobby McGee”

Is it fair to let Bowersox perform Joplin? Fantastic choice, perfectly suited to her voice and style. For a song so well known (and even expected), she added her own flourishes and nuances to it, starting it slowly and teasingly, before blowing doors at the end. Damn, that was good. A much needed pick me up after the crap of the last 40 minutes or so. This chick is a star. 9

“When a Man Loves a Woman”

A good choice for Big Mike, and he delivers a competent, personable performance. Did it knock my (Bower) socks off? No. Did he find something in his wheelhouse, and give it a fairly good go? Yes. Did it compare unfavorably to Michael Bolton’s cover (much less, Percy Sledge’s original)? Sadly, yeah. Not bad, but he needs to find something where he can fuse personality AND vocals. 6

“Heard It Through the Grapevine”

During the “mentoring” session, Miley’s statutory lips of denim distracted him so much he forgot the lyrics to the song. And really, this song? Has anyone picked anything adventurous? As much as I love “Letter” and “Bobby McGee,” those aren’t exactly walking out on a ledge and trying something wild. And this isn’t a good selection for him. He’s flailing around on the stage, and his vocals are about as soulful as a pinochle game in Provo. Bad. 3


“Big Girls Don’t Cry”

Katie picks one of the few Fergie songs with actual singing, and none of that spoken rap, full of attitude bullshit. She shows some personality, but sadly, it takes a pretty bland performance to make me appreciate the depth and power of Fergie’s vocals. It’s not as bad as some of the wipeouts we’ve just seen, so in comparison, it seems rather pleasing, despite many sharp and just plain off key notes. 5.5


“The Power of Love”

Did he generate 1.21 gigawatts? Not quite, but that was a good choice for Casey, and he delivered the song with energy and enthusiasm, accented by some nice guitar playing. His vocals were right where the songs needs to be, and he didn’t overshoot. The judges were mixed on this, but I rather liked it. 7

“You’re No Good”

Finally, an interesting song selection that doesn’t feel overdone. DiDi looks great, and gives the tune a little bit of a torch song sass. It’s a bit shaky in the beginning, but really picks up steam as she goes along. The judges don’t like it all, but I have to disagree. I thought it was fun, and brave of her to take it on in a way that was out of her comfort zone, but not an embarrassment. 7


Hot off a showstopping performance last week, Siobahn gets the pimp slot tonight. Oh My Fucking God. What has she done to her hair? She looked 1000% better in her little package with the chipmunk, with the downdo and Harry Carey glasses. Despite the Eraserhead dress up, she puts down a fun and vocally proficient version of Stevie’s classic, though I gotta be honest, I was expecting a little more. She’s got a huge voice, and unless she really steps in it, she’s a lock to make through to the final 2 or 3. But this was kind of in the middle, without the soul and funk of the original, yet neither getting down to the bluesy grit of a Stevie Ray version. Still, a standout on a night of mostly uninspiring choices and performances. 7

TNRLM Top 3: Crystal, Siobahn, DiDi

TNRLM Bottom 3: Paige, Andrew, Tim

1 comment:

  1. Yep, yep, and yep...there was just a HUGE difference between the really good and the really bad last night. No way we should still be seeing performances like Tim, Paige, and Andrew at this point in the competition. Can you believe that two of these people are actually going to be on the tour?

    Song choice was just strange...were they not allowed to pick anything from the last five years?