American Idol: Tears for Years

Wow. This season is just flying by, isn’t it? Last week, we lost what’s-her-face, with the tattoos and the voice and shimmy-shimmy. Now we’re left with eight individuals with the potential to become stars, but who, in all likelihood, with just be known as “that one who was on that show, I think.” This is American Idol. The problem with your daughter is not her bed. It’s her brain.

Tonight’s show is only an hour long–or so they say. The theme is “Songs from the Years In Which the Idols Were Born” or rather, “Songs from the ’80s, Plus Allison.” But first, we have to waste time looking at baby pictures of the judges and Seacrest, because with only 40 minutes of actual non-commercial airtime, shit like this is really relevant to the competition. So there’s Baby Randy, looking like Webster. There’s Baby Kara, looking like she’s being touched in the bad place. Baby Paula looks like a 14-year-old feral child, and Baby Simon is dressed like a Thunderbirds character. It’s a British thing. Hey, at least he’s not wearing one of those damn black t-shirts. And what of our dear Ryan, even now awaiting his first growth spurt? Baby Ryan is the love child of Bugs Bunny and Corky.

Danny Gokey. Born 1980. Singing “Stand By Me.” Leave it to Gokey to find the loophole. This song was originally recorded by Ben E. King in 1961. Absolutely not the year in which this douchebag was born. But it was covered by Mickey Gilley in ’80 for the soundtrack to Urban Cowboy. So while Gokey isn’t singing the country cover, he’s using it to suit his own needs. Again, he’s playing the game. Again, that doesn’t mean I have to like him. He’s actually moved past Lambert on my list of People I’d Like to See Eaten By the Jaws Shark. He’s such a shady, manipulative, self-congratulatory, faux-humble ass. Danny is always ‘on’ and Danny is his own biggest fan. Ever wonder how funny Danny is? Ask him and he’ll tell you. He’s hilarious. Ugh. And it gets worse every week. At least Lambert, when not reenacting scenes from The Birdcage during his performances, behaves like a human being. Anyway, I guess you want to know about Gokey’s singing. It’s as solid as ever, despite a crappy arrangement, which is neither country nor soul. It’s “easy-listening.” The kind of thing you’d hear on the radio in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. The judges agree with me re: the arrangement, but re: Danny, the word “love” and the phrase “killed it” are used. Nobody calls him on his mild cheat. Feh.

Kris Allen. Born 1985. Singing Don Henley’s “All She Wants To Do Is Dance.” You would think this would be a good choice for Kris. You would be thinking wrong. It’s sort of a jazzy-funk arrangement, which undermines the edge of the song. The singing has no “meat.” It feels like a rehearsal. Like he’s just fucking around with this before he sings whatever he’s really chosen, for reals. But this is it. Kris performs the song from within the Moat, surrounded by Moat Girls, mostly white, mostly pretty. I guess the experimental “Boys, Uglies, and People of Color Are Welcome” phase went out the same week it came in. Now it’s like The Hills had diarrhea. Back to Kris. Good song choice, poor execution. The judges didn’t think the song needed to be reinterpreted. Ain’t nothing wrong with the original. (Keep that in mind the next time you hear them ask an Idol, “Why did you sing that song with way it was recorded? We can’t tell what kind of an artist you are unless you make it your own.” Newsflash: the judges are cocks.) Kara says it made Kris sound old. Kara is retarded. In the audience, Kris’s dad boos Kara, and Kris’s mom grabs his arm, like, “Don’t embarrass me on television, dear.” Hee!

Lil Rounds. Born 1984. Singing Tina’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” Lil walks out on stage in what’s clearly a homage/ripoff of Turner’s trademark strut, so she’s already asking for trouble. She sings the song, bringing very little to it. It’s like what’s on the record, but with less style, less wow, less oomph. No oomph, actually. It’s karaoke time until Lil can belt, and I’m sorry to say this is how it’s been for weeks with her. She does these moderately adequate performances, finds a place to power up and belt for a few seconds, and leaves me feeling like I just heard a whole lot of nothing. The judges are on the same page. Essentially, they say Lil needs to bring it. I think it’s been brought–and it’s wine in a box, instead of in a bottle. Sorries.

Anoop Desai. Born 1986. Singing Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” But first, he apologizes for getting snotty last week. Don’t apologize, bitch, just sing well. And he almost-sort of does. Look, the judges have dragged him back and forth. Sing party songs! Do a ballad! Up tempo! Slow down! They don’t know what they want from him (except that they don’t want him to win), and Anoop is just trying to get by. This is pretty good. Better than whatever frickin’ Bobby Brown shit he usually sings. The judges like it. “You controlled the song. You did not let it control you.” Next week, a confused Anoop will sing “Control.”

Scott MacIntyre. Born 1985. Singing “The Search Is Over.” I like this song a lot. I bought Survivor’s Greatest Hits just for this gay song (although it was better when Lisa Hartman sang it on Knots Landing that time, before Alec Baldwin started knocking her around and caused his own mother to yell at him until he fell off a roof, killing him dead!). Scott is standing center stage. No piano. But he’s holding a guitar. A guitar?! I need to be blind, so I can learn to play many instruments. I like Scott, although again, his singing is flat and bland. He stands on the stage like a Sleestak because if he tries to move, he’ll fall ass over teakettle into the Moat. There are some okay parts, and there are some painful, sharp parts. I’m not sure how much longer Scott can coast. Maybe one or two weeks, at best. The judges generally liked it, except for the dookie bits. Paula wasn’t keen on the “screeching” and Simon wants Scott to go back behind his piano. Randy deals out his “Make Sense One Time Card” and says, “Dude, it was just all okay. The song was okay, the vocals were okay. It didn’t show you as a star, as one of the best undiscovered talents in America.” That’s ’cause Scott ain’t that guy. Scott is just okay. I’m sure he’d make a sweet boyfriend, and I have a feeling he’d be fun to have a beer with, but I can’t imagine who, under the age of 60, would want to buy a CD with his name on it. He’s just a nice guy. And not to get Broadway on your recap-reading asses, but like Red Riding Hood says in Into the Woods: Nice is different than good.

Allison Iraheta. Born 1992. Singing “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt. Nothing against Bonnie, but this song is a little trite. I mean, in its day, okay, maybe. But over the years it’s become so overdone and hackneyed. It’s the kind of thing Blair would sing on One Life To Live (on those episodes where they let her sing so she’ll re-sign her contract). I alway fast-forward that stuff. Life is just too damn short, people. Speaking of short people, Allison is dressed like a character from Zombie Slayer Prom Night. Don’t Google it, I made it up. Lots of leather, lots of skirt. Lots of skirt. Vocally, she’s solid, like always. I’m not especially engaged by her, although she is talented. Paula liked that it was the same arrangement as the original, but Allison made it her own. Simon just wants her to be likable, which: yes. Randy says Allison reminds her of Kelly Clarkson, which I think I said months ago. “She can sing her face off and so can you.” I have no interest in Kara right now, but I can tell you that she spoke.

Matt Giraud. Born 1985. Singing Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover.” Matt is back in “soul” mode, complete with a fedora on his head, worn at a jaunty angle. Vocally, this is a lot better than his Fray or Coldplay stuff, but I’d still rather hear that than this because this ain’t my thing. That said, it’s quality. Not as polished as Matt’s comparison-buddy Justin Timberlake, or as easy on the ears as my man Mraz, but…let’s call it skillful. He doesn’t even fuck up enough that I can make fun of him. Loser. The judges are like, “Yes, you did what we told you! Now we must undermine you in new and different ways! Damn!” Randy calls it the best of the night, and the other three parrot him.

Alright, as I said, this is the first hour-long episode of the season. Remember those super-important baby pictures of the judges from the top of the show? Well, you can thank them for cutting the program off right here. If you DVRed this thing with any expectation of seeing eight performances you are on the Sucker Boat, because the show ran long. What happened with Adam Lambert? Luckily, I caught the overrun in time to find out. And yeah, I used the word “luckily” regarding Adam Lambert. Oy…

Adam Lambert. Born 1982. Singing “Mad World” by Tears For Fears, but also used to great effect by Gary Jules in the excellent movie Donnie Darko. So, like, I should hate this, right? Right?! I stand before you, shamed and humiliated. This is good. Very good. Adam, for a change, goes for quiet and understated, instead of “werewolf showgirl.” Wow. Color me impressed. And he’s not even in drag tonight. Mostly. This is really is the best he’s ever done. Simon says “we’re running out of time.” Time done ran out and away, Cowell. Time is at home, in bed, and under the covers. Anyway, with the clock ticking and an episode of Fringe or whatever the fuck about to air, Simon is the sole judge to speak. “I think words are unnecessary, but I’m going to give you a standing ovation.” And then he stands. And he ovates!! Simon Cowell. Before my eyes. Holy Christmas and goodnight nurse. I have seen it all.

So who hits the Bottom Three tomorrow? I say Anoop, Scott, and hell, I’m gonna say Allison. I just don’t think people are charmed by her. (And by “people” I mean me.) Anoop goes home. Or Scott. Oh, I don’t know, my guesses suck. It’ll be somebody, though. Judges Save, my ass.

Also tomorrow: Kellie Pickler. I mean, why watch Lost, ya know?


Back to the season guide.


    1. Corky? You are going to hell, m’friend.

      “Now it’s like The Hills had diarrhea. ” I laughed until I cried.

      I co-sign all your observations, with two exceptions…

      I don’t hate Gokey as much as you do. But he’s become irrelavent. It’s just the same competent “meh” performance week after week. What we saw in auditions is EXACTLY what we see every single week. Gokey is sorta playing the game, but honestly? just barely.

      I wasn’t as “wow”ed by Lampert’s performance as you were. Sure, it was good. But it was a copycat of the Donnie Darhko version. It was of equal value to many, many performances we have seen on this show. Certainly worthy of good review, but a standing ovation from Simon? These things do not compute.

      The guy can sing well, and could be honed into something if someone pulled him aside and told him “Bitch, stop screaching and touching yourself.” But no one says that. They treat Adam with this weird reverence… Honestly, I don’t recall ever seeing THIS much on THIS show.

      And as kinda-creepy as Adam may be, he’s doing what he thinks he should do to win the competition. Part of me can’t blame him for that. But The Show (and the judges) — their endless praising of his performances — which are, objectively, OK to good in range…. I seriously want to scream at my TV. It’s audience manipulation at its worst. I think its one of the worst, most consistent audience manipulations AMERICAN IDOL has perputrated.

      And that’s what irks me.


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