American Idol Top 12: Everybody Must Get Stoned

I’m back! Did you miss me? Did you miss Our Dear Show?! If you only answered ‘yes’ to one of those questions, it better have been the first one, or I will come to your house and pinch your left tit — hard. Are we clear? So where have I been and what have I been up to? And what’s been happening on this damn stupid program? And why does it suck so much now? And how, exactly did Glee help ruin it? These answers and more after the jump. Because this, like it or not, is still American Idol.

When last we left Seacrest & Company, Hollywood Round was almost over. A swarm of people were about to find out who would move forward to the semi-finals. Here’s an update: a bunch of them found out and a bunch of them moved forward. Meanwhile, I picked up a temporary job working full-time hours, and, more importantly, the Winter Olympics got underway. And say what you want about the Winter Olympics. That shit has one thing that American Idol needs: death.

So Semi-Finals happened, and if it hadn’t been clear during auditions or Hollywood, it was very apparent that this season was chock full of suck. Everything was just so lackluster. The performances…the personalities. What happened to the show? Was Paula’s exit to blame? Was it Ellen’s desperate need to be loved by humanity? Maybe. But I think the bigger culprit was Glee. Allow me to explain…

First up, Glee is awesome. Everybody likes to nitpick at it. There’s too much singing, there’s not enough singing, the characters are ridiculous, the characters are annoying. Whatever. Y’all watch it, so y’all can shut up. The thing is that Glee, being the awesome creature it is, has raised our expectations. Every week on that show, we see young people singing familiar songs fantastically. And yes, it’s a work of fiction, but Fox has put viewers in a position where, on Glee, we expect and we receive magic. And if that bunch of nobodys can knock us over singing a cover of some random Queen song, how can Idol, once the King of Covers, ever again compete? It can’t. The contestants aren’t ever going to be as good as the “kids” on the scripted show. Glee vocally delivers at close to 100% every week. Is anybody really interested in watching a bunch of scrubs simply try to deliver, and maybe succeed occasionally? Perhaps not. Anyway, this is all my way of saying that maybe Idol itself hasn’t changed. It could just be our perception; our subconscious knowledge that the bar has been raised elsewhere on the same network, and maybe it’s time for Grandma to retire her Charleston shoes once and for all.

But, for now, we’re here. And guess what? We have 12 Damn Finalists. I’ll deal with them as they perform. And I hope you like the new easy, breezy format of these recaps. I’ve come to the conclusion that Randy is useless, Ellen is pointless, Kara, although occasionally effective is often annoying, and that Simon is the only one anybody cares about. So the judges comments in these recaps…eh…not so much, anymore. Besides, I’ve gotta get up at the unholy time of 7:30 a.m., like some kind of prisoner of war. There’s less time to sleep, less time to wank, and definitely less time to write. But as always, I’ll strive to entertain and inform — because I love you all like precious Easter bunnies.

Tonight’s theme is Songs of the Rolling Stones, a band I’ve always felt was overrated — not terrible, but not fantastic. They’re not the Who, that’s for sure. And be aware that no Stone, not even a lesser one like Ronnie Wood, is here to mentor the contestants. All the Idoleers have are themselves and their god.  Good luck, all around.

Michael Lynche was best known for his wife giving birth during the audition round. Tonight, he would also like us to know that his mother is dead, so please vote for him. He sings “Miss You,” as a jazzy, soulful, up-tempo pop song. Very wholesome and user-friendly, especially since he doesn’t sing the part about coming around at twelve with some Puerto Rican girls that are just dying to meet us. The Moat of Pretty Blondes at the foot of the stage would be aghast. Big Mike has lots of personality and works the stage well, although his effervescent demeanor is gonna wear thin after awhile. Oh, wait. It already has. There you go. Kara likes how he filled up the stage, but we all know he’s fat, so whatever. Simon liked Mike’s confidence, but thought the “dancing” was corny. Because the show-choreographed dancing during the weekly Group Sings is so…artistic?

Didi Benami was best known for being some white girl during auditions. Her mom is house-sitting while Didi is on the show. Uh-oh, I hope Didi hid her porn. Do girls even have porn to hide? If you shook my house upside down, the men of Titan Media would come spilling out. Girls probably just have “massagers” and stuff. Ya know, to put inside their things or whatever. Didi sings “Play With Fire.” The Hilary Duff song?! I don’t think I know this one. Is it usually a ballad? A funeral dirge? I feel like, despite the lyrics, it should be raining on stage and we should all be sorry for Didi’s loss. Vocally, she’s fine. She’s Didi. Quirky. Pretty voice, only occasionally bordering on piercing. I like her, but not this. Not much. Simon is a fan, found the performance solid, and thinks she can do even better.

Casey James, during auditions, was sexually molested by Kara and Posh Spice, who made him strip topless. Now we learn he had some sort of sick baby disease, back when he was a baby. So…vote for him, too? He sings “It’s All Over Now” or something. Sounding Bob Seger-ish, which is not the way to win my heart, I’ll tell you that. Also, being boring. And the hair is skeevy. Wash it, cut it, then we can talk. ‘Kay, Casey? Thanks. Simon is like, “You look like somebody dressed like a rocker, but for god’s sake, are you alive?!”

Lacey Brown, as far as I recall, didn’t appear during auditions. But she’s here now, telling us about how her family supports her and she sang in church and la-de-da pastor or something about being shy and holy. She sings “Ruby Tuesday,” maybe because the show is airing on Tuesday. Lacey sits on the edge of the stage because she’s Keeping It Real. To paint you a vocal picture, everything she sings sounds exactly like “Lovefool” by The Cardigans, just slower and with different lyrics. Even this. “Lovefool.” Yep. Ellen is very concerned about the point in the performance at which Lacey decided to sit down. How can you ever be a major recording artist if you sit at the wrong time?! Lacey is dead to me now. Thanks, Ellen!

Andrew Garcia wants to remind us that he was never in a street gang. Never, ever. And he likes music. And his family was maybe sort of poor, but possibly just working class, from the looks of it, which is different from poor in that it they seem to live in a nice house in a cul-de-sac, Knots Landing-style, which generally, you don’t see happening with those on welfare or what have you. Andrew sings “Gimme Shelter” and starts off okay, but then goes off the rails with “intense” facial expressions and bad notes and hollering. Kara wants Andrew…to be Mick Jagger? I think that’s what she wants. Simon says Andrew was better in rehearsals but not on TV, but hopes he survives another week. Simon and I have different hopes, except for the one that Ryan will dance around in his underwear during Idol Gives Back.

Katie Stevens is a whole lot of plastic, wrapped in 95 pounds of fake, sprinkled with artificial sweetener. We’re supposed to love her. She’s young! Her grandmother has the Alzheimer’s! Vote for this sad waif! She barely knows who Mick Jagger is! Isn’t that adorable? She’s such a cute little Monchhichi. But ick to Katie. I can put up with so much bullshit, but this girl…just please, Katie, go home. Katie will be singing “Wild Horses” because the lyrics, she says, spoke to her. In other words, she likes pretty ponies. (Thanks for that one, Chris!) Her performance is terribly dull and somewhat forced. I get the impression that Katie either thinks she’s better than she really is, or a lifetime of people blowing smoke up her ass has convinced her that the gurgling sound of her pitchy voice is actually appealing. So we’re talking about degrees of naiveté, I suppose. Simon liked the song choice and felt that Katie gave it 100 percent, which says…something, I guess. She didn’t suck? She sucked less than she could have? Bah.

Tim Urban is best remembered for being the Dreamiest Boy on This Show Ever! I think he’s in love with the Jesus, but I can deal with that. We shall overcome. His family is an army of people, and it’s pretty clear that Tim got all the looks. The rest of them are like works-in-progress. Failed prototypes built by Doctor Will Magnus until he created perfection with Tim. Tim wants us to know that, as a member of the Urban family, you’re always part of the Urban family. Okay, so maybe Doctor Will Magnus fucked up the intelligence coding, but otherwise? Flawless. Physically, I mean. Vocally, at best, he’s not a disaster. Tim sings “Under My Thumb.” Reggae-style. Really. I guess it’s sort of trendy, between Jason Mraz and the 50 First Dates soundtrack — from five years ago — but listening to Tim, there’s a vague Morrissey quality to his voice. He should explore that, because this reggae business is lametarded. Even the judges are like, “What the hell…?” Simon says Tim made it his own, which isn’t exactly true, because like I said, this is a thing. But he’s probably safe, so I’m not gonna sweat it.

Siobhan Magnus, you might recall, came to Hollywood Round dressed like the “Papa Don’t Preach” video. That wasn’t a fluke. Her style is unique. She comes from a Big Family of Uniques. Tonight, she sings “Paint it Black” wearing combat boots and a prom dress, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Siobhan starts off all moody and slow, then busts out into Adam Lambert levels of drama and theater and wow, this is fucking awesome. That last note — holy crap!  It sounds like murder, but beautiful murder. Good for her. She’s my favorite girl, I think. The judges: love. Even Randy, who normally has the intellect of a thumb.

Lee DeWyze, who I like to call Dweezil, has the gruff Pearl Jammy voice. He used to work in a paint store, so Ryan logged on to the store’s Web site so he could quiz Dweezil about colors like “Snugglepuss” (purple) and “Cupid’s Dart” (also purple). Even when he’s not on Manhunt, Seacrest uses the internet to be gay. Dweezil sings “Beast of Burden,” and before he even sings a note, we’re told how nervous he is. One should never be nervous about a song once covered by Bette Midler. Dweezil’s version is a slower, softer, mid-tempo take. It’s even a little sexy. And mumbly, too. I ain’t gonna lie. Simon says Dweezil’s personality is holding him back, and that he chose a safe song when he should be bursting out of his shell and having “a moment.” And he’s mostly right, because this boy hasn’t really popped, even amidst B-listers like Casey Jones. Maybe if he took his shirt off. I dunno.

Paige Miles and her blue contacts are on this show for reasons I do not understand. She has consistently been either bad, dull, or unimpressive. Sometimes all of those things at once. Also: dead father, so vote for her. And: loving, alive mother, so vote for her. The producers are helpful with their guidance. She sings “Honkey Tonk Women” and I find myself surprised that “honky” and “tonk” are two separate words. Remember those three things I said Paige was? She is indeed all of them right now. As it turns out, she was diagnosed today with laryngitis, so that covers “bad.” The rest is on her. Bleh. Simon, allegedly unaware of her illness, says she did great, but needs work on her performance. She should work on that at home, I think.

Aaron Kelly was best known on this show when he was David Archuleta. Aaron is the one who was adopted by his aunt who is now his mother. Remember? Yeah, well… He’s a skinny little thing. Likeable enough, although he’ll never win. If these were an episode of Glee, he’d be a background kid, like the Asian guy (who is actually in the Idol audience tonight). Aaron is singing “Angie” tonight, sporting his best Astro Boy hair-do. The performance is pretty good. The melody and range of the song suits his voice. It’s a mid-register sort of deal that allows him to belt just a little bit at the very end. The judges like it and Aaron is all, “Aw, shucks” because he’s Richie Cunningham.

Crystal Bowersox, who, back in the day, got a tattoo in honor of her Benjamin Button baby, is totally going to win this season. That’s the buzz, anyway. I think there will be an upset and she’ll go home early, Tamyra Gray-style, to the shock of all the nation. Crystal has a supportive dad who cries on camera, so vote for her. Tonight, she performs an unplugged version of  “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and is excellent as always. I can’t really pick on her. This is great. Maybe not the best of the night — that would be Siobhan — but close. Everybody liked it and loved her, but Simon warns that Crystal shouldn’t get too complacent, thinking the win is in the bag. She’s like, “I never said that!” But then she thanks him, and he winks back at her, and it’s like they’re sharing this moment because they might well be the only two adults on this fucking show, and it’s all good.

So somebody goes home tomorrow. I think it’ll be a girl. Paige, Lacey, or Didi. I hope it’s Katie, but I’ll happily settle for Paige.

We’ll see…
-Frank

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    Comments

    1. yes, you were missed! Yes, this season sucks.

      Most of the time I’m in agreement with you but today I have to say your opinion (and the opinion of the judges) is wrong. (I know its just an opinion but its still wrong) Siobhans performance of Paint it Black was a steaming pile of shit…at least thats what I said immediately after she was done pissing on an otherwise cool song. Of course, I never liked Adam Lambert and all the screaming so there’s no reason to think that I should like it on this chick.

      While we’re on the subject of shit, Tim Urbans “interpretation” of Under my Thumb was pretty misguided, did he even read the lyrics of that song before coming up with that upbeat little arrangment? Just the same though, he’s so pretty to look at so I hope he’s spared.

      And my last meaningless comment is that I had hoped all night that no one would attempt to do “You Can’t always get what you want”. One of my fave Stones tunes (after Sympathy for the Devil…hmmm that might have actually been kind of awesome for someone to do that one.) I think Crystal did a fine ol’ job with the song and if anyone was going to do it I’m glad it was her but there just isn’t enough time to start that song and bring it to its peak. So, kind of a fail. But whatever.

    2. It might have taken me ages to come in here and check, but you know that my monitoring habits are sloppy at best and you know that you were missed.

      I’ve read all your recaps, wishing that I could watch this show and mull over your insights as I viewed the train wreck that is American Idol. Now that I’ve seen an episode, I’m just going to go back to enjoying your recaps.

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