American Idol: Disco Piano Bar from Hell

In 1978, I saw Saturday Night Fever. It was my first R-rated movie. My aunt took me to see it, and I think she was a little mortified because half of what went on in that film was not fit for an 11-year-old’s eyes. But I had to see it! All the other kids went months ago! And Vinnie Barbarino was in it! I remember being bored most of the time, though. I just wanted to see some dancing. The point of this tale is that tonight is “Disco Night.” And I was bored most of the time, and just wanted to see some dancing. This is American Idol. You know, Connie, if you’re as good in bed as you are on the dance floor, then you’re one lousy fuck.

It’s Week 15, people. Week 15. I’m just saying. The fact that I haven’t flown to the West Coast to kick Danny Gokey in the balls is a testament to my self-restraint. Also: a testament to my deep-rooted fear of flying and general laziness. So yadda, blah-blah. Hello to Ryan. Hello to the judges. All Idols are present and accounted for. Matt Giraud is using his “Get Out of Jail Free” card to go home tomorrow instead of last week. In fact, two people will go home tomorrow. I hope Matt and Lil enjoy each other’s company on the bus ride to Loserville. Vince Neil is in the audience, looking flea-ridden and too old for both his hairstyle and his companion. Also, to repeat, it is Disco Night (which, of course, explains why Vince Neil is here). Are we all on the same page? Good. Let’s go.

Lil Rounds. Singing “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan. Like that isn’t the most expected song choice of the season. Watching this the first time, I felt that Lil sounded like a singer in a wedding band. I’d like to amend that to say that Lil sounds like a singer in a piano bar. Just another degree of “less.” She moves around the stage a lot, but vocally, there’s nothing worth tuning in for. And she keeps telling the audience to “Come on!” In Idol-speak, “Come on” can be loosely interpreted as “help.” So we’ve got a bland performance, from a chronically dull performer–and said performer is singing first tonight. Yep. Lil and Matt are sittin’ in a tree. S-U-C-K-I-N-G. (I know I haven’t recapped his performance yet. You’ve gotta trust me.) The judges don’t understand why Lil is the way she is and why she does the things she does. Paula says that Chaka Khan “tapped into her inner goddess,” while Lil tapped into her inner Best Buy employee. Simon tries critiquing Lil, but Lil gets mouthy about how she had fun and got the crowd going, but Simon is like, “Ya know who’s going? You. Home.”

Kris Allen. Singing Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money.” Seriously. But first: this is not disco. It’s ’80s pop. That’s a totally different head. Totally. But Idol rules are all about shades of gray, and for tonight, okay, it’s disco. Kris strums his little guitar and…wow. You know that Jason Mraz thing Kris does? It’s like that. All groovy and smooth, with a Santana-vibe to the arrangement (Paula echoes me on that in a minute). So very good!! If Kris keeps this up, he might be the first Idol in history to get me to buy his CD. The judges love and admire Kris for taking a classic song and making it his own–and for doing well with it.

Danny Gokey. Singing Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” and annoying me by his very presence on stage. Cockiness flows from him like a tidal wave. That smirk and the dancing. Bopping up to the judge’s dais for a bit of ass-kissery. Sounding like Michael McDonald–but we already have one of those in the world and I’m pretty sure that’s enough. Somebody pointed out to me that Danny had stopped wearing his wedding ring, but now it’s back on again. If that’s true: Asshole. And if it’s not true, the sentiment still holds. It’s not like I’ll give him buddy points for being less of a twat. The judges dig what he done. Kara glorifies Gokey’s pitch, which she says is “right on.” No, it isn’t. Paula says his range is amazing. No, it isn’t. Simon thinks the performance was clumsy and lacked star power, but he can’t fault the vocals. But I can: FAULT!!

Allison Iraheta. Singing Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff.” Starting out inappropriately sexy on the stage, after having Bedazzled Julie Newmar’s old Catwoman costume to death. The arrangement is slower than it should be for this song. It sounds like something you’d sing while working a chain gang. And Allison’s voice, with the deep-throatiness and all…it sounds forced. She’s one, long, monotonous note to me. And although I guess she can sing, her voice isn’t pleasant to the ear. Okay, so I don’t enjoy her. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed her for awhile. Did I ever? This season is becoming a blur. Oh, she’s getting the David Cook Memorial Rocker Lights. How nice for her. The judges did not groove on the arrangement, but they groove on Allison. Simon goes so far as to call it “brilliant.” Simon goes too far.

Adam Lambert. (In the middle of the episode?!) Singing “If I Can’t Have You” by Miss Yvonne Elliman. Adam is dressed like a boy tonight. No nail polish. A shiny black suit. Granted, the suit has pointy shoulders, like he’s trying to cover up his mutant bat-wings and is doing a bad job of it. But still, an effort is being made. Much like when he sang the Donnie Darko song, Adam’s performance is sedate. He takes this up-tempo song and turns it into a slow-to-mid-tempo ballad. It’s not as surprisingly strong as that performance a few weeks back–but it’s good. Aside from one screechy, super-sharp Canary-cry of a note, it’s very solid. That’s two ‘thumbs-up’ songs from Adam, so far. What’s up with that? The judges tell him how awful he was and regret ever giving him positive feedback. Heh. Yeah, like that would happen. They adore him. Adam accepts their praise with seemingly honest gratitude and humility. Gokey, are you paying attention or are you backstage, patting yourself on the back? Paula was practically moved to tears by the whole thing. She felt his pain. Oh, Paula!
Matt Giraud. Singing “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees. Trying to be soulful, I suppose, but too caught up in bopping around and being “funky” to focus on staying on-key. This was also a problem when he tried to sing and play piano a couple of weeks back. Matt is not a master of the multi-tasking. He’s wearing a douchy hat, like Jeremy Piven. Also telling us to “Come on!” Yuck. Not singing now, as much as sing-speaking, then making a howling attempt at a falsetto. Randy tells Matt he can “really sing.” Based on that? Again, Randy proves his worthlessness. Kara is a little meh. She liked it okay. Paula is impressed enough to tell Matt he’s staying. Ha! And Simon is like, “Do you realize you are singing for people on this actual planet who physically have ears on their heads?”

Anoop Desai. Singing Donna Summer’s “Dim All the Lights,” because apparently it’s Donna Summer Night. Anoop, who came dressed as Miami Vice: The Next Generation, sings this as a ballad, but it’s not as stylized or interesting as Adam’s balladeering. It’s fine. It’s nice. Oh, surprise! The tempo picks up. It’s still bland. He’s very flat on the long notes, and his hand gestures are driving me to distraction. Is this a bad arrangement or did the band take a bathroom break? The whole thing sounds hollow. Like Anoop will sing now, and they’ll lay down a music track later. Ouch! Realllly bad note at the end. And Anoop knows it. He has the “I fucked up” look on his face. But Randy is easily impressed tonight. “Nice, baby, nice.” Kara and Paula enjoyed it. Simon: “That was mediocre, at best.” Ah, relief. Simon and I can get back to being on speaking terms now.

Tomorrow night, two people go home. Plus: Little Archie!


Back to the season guide.


    1. Nice recappery!

      I’m glad you are starting to like Kris MUSICALLY (and not just for… other reasons). FINALLY, everyone is recognizing Kris! He’s “my pick” this year.

      And while I enjoy the Gokey-hate, I miss your Lampert-disdain. Cantcha spread the hate around a little bit?


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