American Idol Top 9: All You Need Is Love (and Caffeine)

This just in! Before the show, the Idol judges shockingly (!) stand around talking (!!), and Ryan is allowed into the control room to look at the monitors — but not to touch anything (it’s like Bring Your Child to Work Day, but with a much shorter child). Meanwhile, the contestants mill about on stage like half-wits, which is giving them 50% more brain-credit than they deserve. This is American Idol. “Pepperland is a tickle of joy on the belly of the universe. It must be scratched!”

Tonight’s musical theme is “Songs from the Lennon/McCartney Catalog.” Perhaps you’ve heard of Lennon/McCartney? They’ve composed music for several television commercials. There is no Beatles mentor tonight — even Ringo has more sense than to show his face here — but Paul provides a brief, taped message which amounts to “Good luck, you barmy tossers! Hope your bloody performances aren’t poxy, wot?”

As for the nine remaining Idols, each individual’s taped package involves getting a character assessment from the other eight. Here’s what we learn: Aaron’s nickname is “Yoda,” because when you stick your hand up his ass, he talks in a funny voice. Katie is dead in the eyes and dances like an epileptic “Thriller” zombie. Andrew has the most personality of anyone on this show, ever, or maybe even on the planet, so don’t call him boring because he’s hilarious and full of life and joy and I’m peeing myself just hearing how funny he is, aren’t you?! Big Mike continues to be both big and Mike, every day and in every way. Crystal Bowersox is like a mom. A dirty, flea-ridden (but wonderfully talented), hippie, grossly-dreadlocked mom. Tim Urban can turn the world on with a smile. He can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile. Casey is an aspiring man-whore with a psychotic laugh. Siobhan is a weirdo. Also, she’s Black Canary. And Dweezil is gay for Andrew.

Performances…

Aaron Kelly is singing “The Long and Winding Road,” because the road to Idol was…long. And winding. And possibly an actual road. Ah, he’s sixteen years old, let’s allow him to be obvious. Aaron, at times, looks like a young clone of K.D. Lang. Also, at times, he sounds like he has a hairball. And lord, does it drag. But the boy tries, and he has a heart of gold, doesn’t he? The judges are so-so on the whole, meandering thing. Kara wants “tempo” because Aaron is apparently singing the same type of song each week. She remembers what he sings each week? I’ll have forgotten this before the night is over. But Aaron: awww.

Katie Stevens came dressed as Buffy and/or Hildegard to sing “Let It Be.” I do hope someone called 911, because from the sound of it, Katie is drowning, right there on stage. Seriously, with this voice! Little Nemo sounded less water-logged. The judges love her, because for reasons unknown, her “talent” is a lie that must be perpetuated. Ick.

Andrew Garcia sings “Can’t Buy Me Love” like he’s got to give it away fast, before it explodes. Over-paced, strangely arranged, with a quick-step jazzy beat, and nasal vocals. Generally desperate. Kara wants more. And more, better. Simon plays not the wedding singer card, but the wedding guitarist-doing-vocals card, after the wedding singer takes a break. In short: stanky.

Big Mike performs “Eleanor Rigby” soooo slooowwwly at first, and then VERY LOUDLY at the end. Sort of a hip arrangement. Very modern. And he has a whole damn orchestra backing him up. This is good, but still a snoozer. Couldn’t they have just played some Beatles records for two hours? Wouldn’t that have been nicer than these ass-y covers? Judges = love and praise and hallelujah for Sensitive Giants with Infant Baby Children.

Glee comes back next week and somehow this show will still manage to be 90-minutes long on Tuesday?! I know there’s a war happening and all, but can’t the government take a minute to address this? Because another extra-length Idol is terrorism in its purest form.

Crystal Bowersox sings “Come Together,” not a particular favorite of mine, so I guess she’s starting behind the eightball for me. Oh, and she’s accompanied by a guy playing the didgeridoo, so how could this performance not be a thing of beauty? If everybody in the world who played a didgeridoo got struck in the head with that very instrument, we’d have many less people in the world playing the didgeridoo. Let’s work on that as a global community, shall we? Crystal is Crystal. A solid performance hurt only by the meh-ness of the song.

Tim Urban covers “All My Loving” and it’s not bad. Oh, make no mistake, it’s certainly not good. But in the Tim-verse, this is a high-ranking okay. Nice arrangement. Gentle voice. He’s playing the guitar, which is good because it gives him focus. And he’s playing the guitar, which is bad because I don’t think he can do that and sing at the same time. If Bobby Sherman fucked the Hardy Boys, well…here’s the result. Most of the judges base their criticisms not on the performance itself, but rather on its success as a “Tim performance.” By that standard, he’s done well. Which means he’s going home tomorrow.

Casey Jones-James, in costume as all three Bee Gees, sings “Jealous Guy,” which…hmm…I’ve heard it, I think, but it’s not in the front of my brain. Good for Casey? Maybe? No. Dirge. Sleepytime dirge. Vocally fine, but so fucking boring. What is up with these people tonight? These songs (except for “Come Together”) are five thousand kinds of awesome genius. Stop the slow-paced karaoke, bitches! Ugh. The judges liked it. Ellen: “Soulful.” Kara: “Tasteful.” These are not things that are exciting to me as a listener of music. Also, Casey, get a haircut. You ain’t Hanson.

Siobhan Magnus performs “Across the Universe.” Beautiful song. Unfortunately, Siobhan sings it like it’s dying of a brain tumor. Sidebar: the camera shouldn’t get so close to Siobhan when she opens her mouth. Some things, like boobs and Tyra Banks, are better from afar. Randy was amazed at Siobhan’s artistry, although he throws “sleepy” out there. Sometimes, Randy is actually of use.

Dweezil sings “Hey Jude” and it’s fine, if a little rough in spots. Then a fucking bagpipe player comes marching onto the stage, playing the fucking bagpipe, and this whole performance becomes a chaotic mess. I wouldn’t be surprised if Big Bird and H.R. Pufnstuf showed up at this point. Bagpipes? Dude in a kilt? Dweezil suddenly singing like Taylor Hicks? The judges-at-arms don’t even know what the hell, and I’m inclined to agree.

So there you have it. Nine performances, nine exercises in mediocrity, nine wonderful opportunities to nap.

Tomorrow, Tim goes home. But maybe Katie? Please, maybe? Also, David Archuleta makes an appearance. I hope he and Aaron occupying the same stage at the same time don’t cause the universe to implode on itself. Then again, if it takes an apocalypse to end this season sooner…

-Frank

    Comments

    1. Jealous Guy is actually ONE of my favorite Lennon songs…and with the exception of the totally odd vibrato Casey brought when he sang it, I thought he did a phenomonal job and I’d have to agree with Simon that it was the best of the night. It was certainly something different from Casey who I’ve never liked all that much before. I thought Lee’s Hey Jude stunk up the place and was all kinds of WTF when that bagpipe player showed up. How weirdly random was that? Katie Stevens I actually didn’t mind that much last night…although I’m still not a fan and I think her times almost up….but not before we dismiss smilin’ Tim.

    2. I actually do know how to spell “phenomenal”…..whoops.

    3. See, I thought Casey removed all the soft melancholy from the song. In John Lennon’s version, it’s about an overly emotional guy that is so in love, he can’t help his own jealousy.

      Casey’s version was like White Lion’s “Jealous Guy.” Although vocally competent, it didn’t make sense for that song. To me, anyway.

      Big Mike’s “Eleanor Rigby” was the worst.

      I find it amazing hoe Beatles cover songs somehow lose the soft melodies and meaning behind the lyrics. It’s like little kids reciting Shakespeare.

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