I completely forgot that I wanted to write about American Idol the nights it was on. Or maybe I completely forgot about it, because there’s not a single girl contestant left that I like. At all. And the last two weeks full of Beatles songs? Not impressed at all. But, because my list of shit to write about is getting entirely too long, I thought I’d start here – my thoughts on tonight’s performances. It’s the top ten, which means everyone on tonight’s episode gets to perform in the tour, the one that I’ve never really had any interest at all in seeing.
I hate the new stage layout, and I especially hate it when the crowd’s standing their waving their arms back and forth like they’re trying to flag down an airplane. I hate the one gigantic iPod/Ford ad that the entire show has turned into. And I would gladly give any of the judges my life savings (which isn’t much right now) to put a can of Pepsi on that damn table in front of them, even if it’s for five seconds. I do love two things: Ricky Minor and Train Wrecks, so I keep watching it.
The theme for tonight, which I read on TMZ earlier today, is songs from the years in which the contestants are born. There are an assload of songs in every single year, so it should be interesting to see how many of them pick the absolute worst song from that particular year. My guess? At least seven out of ten, especially given these kids are all at least a whopping two years younger than me. It’s too bad I’m not in it this year, because I could pick from songs from the Bee Gees ("Night Fever" or "How Deep Is Your Love") or Barry Manilow ("Copacabana or "Can’t Smile Without You" … both of which I know word for word), or some of my all time favorite songs (no lie): "You’re the One That I Want" (or anything else from the Grease soundtrack!), "Sometimes When We Touch", or even "Take a Chance on Me" by ABBA. 1978? Clearly a fantastic year for number one hits!
Ramiele Malubay. She’s born in 1987, which means she could choose from the likes of George Michael’s "I Want Your Sex", "I’ve Had the Time of My Life" (from the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack!), or even "Respect Yourself" by Bruce Willis, yes, that Bruce Willis. She had some fantastic options! I would have chosen "Songbird" for Kenny G for her to sing, because I can’t stand her very much at all. She, however, goes with Heart’s "Alone" (YouTube video for reference!).
She started out whispering the song, because that’s obviously dramatic, except it sucked. The backup singers were more effective than she was, and I was busy looking things up on the internet, like Ricky Minor’s MySpace. It was boring, but that’s all I’ve thought about her the entire time and I have no idea how she’s still in the game.
Randy thought it was pitchy (of course), Paula was all blah blah blah, and Simon didn’t think it was as bad as Randy thought. Plus, I guess Lullaby Malubay is sick with some voice-stealing illness.
Jason Castro. Today’s his 21st birthday, which is kind of precious, especially when he talks about keytars. I forgot I like this kid. And out of all the songs in 1987, he ignores the top 100 and decides to sing Sting’s "Fragile". He used his guitar tonight, which makes me happy. He seems about 100 times more comfortable when he brings it onto the stage with him. Last week, he learned French for his song and tonight he sings Spanish. He’s totally going for the multi-cultural vote.
An old manager from years ago had a special "thing" for Sting and that’s about all I know about him or this song, which means I’m okay with the way Jason did this song, and I love the way he seems so natural, yet slightly vulnerable in all of his performances. It’s like he’s nervous, no matter how great his performance is and I think that’s what I like about him them most.
Simon likens the performance to a street performer, which is kind of accurate. Randy liked it, but didn’t think it was his best. Paula vomited some other words that didn’t make much sense, as usual.
Syesha Mercado. She’s also born in 1987 and I swear to all that’s holy if she does that baby cry one more time, I’m gonna mute the TV every single time her cutesy bio video comes on. 1987 is a big Whitney Houston year, which I bet she could pull off just fine. Instead, she sings "If I Were Your Woman", which has been redone five billion times, including most recently by Alicia Keys. She pulls the song of without much to write about – it sounds in tune, there aren’t any gigantic notes that she misses (or even attempts), and it seems a little safe for this point in the game. (I even went back to watch it a second time to see if I missed what the judges were talking about, but I still wasn’t crazy insane about it!)
"Yo. Alright. You know, this is great, man." Randy’s fucking insightful. He then also says it’s unbelievable and the best she’s ever sounded for him. Paula thinks everyone is going to remember this performance as the one that’s going to help her sail on through the competition. (Someone needs to give Paula some fucking cue cards, so she doesn’t have to think.) Simon didn’t like the ending and says there’s a limit on her vocal.
Chikezie. 1985. His mom’s name is Chika. I kinda wish that was my name. Before they show his video, Chikezie tells everyone he’s going to sing a ballad, which has me scared. Thsi dude is fun when he’s singing and upbeat song, but the judges just rake him over the coals when he slows things down (for the ladies in the house). He chooses "If Only for One Night" by Luther Vandross. Luther Vandross is not someone I’d probably ever compare Chikezie with, but he does a fair job. There were a couple big notes that I was excited for him about, and the crowd seemed to love him, as usual.
Randy thought it was boring and doesn’t like it when Chikezie goes old school. Paula rambles, so I checked my email and I have no idea what she said. Simon thought it was cheesy and wasn’t a fan when he reached out into the audience. He encourages Chikezie to be more original, and says he misses his personality. Clearly no more ballads for this guy… until the judges tell him he needs to show more diversity in a few weeks.
Brooke White. She was born in 1983, and you know what the top song that year was? "Cum on Feel the Noize" by Quiet Riot. Hell, yes. I might be a fan of Brooke White if she’d bust something out like that. "Every Breath You Take" by The Police is her choice, and clearly it’s a bad one, because she doesn’t even get two notes out before she has to start over. She’s in front of the piano again, and the rest of the band doesn’t come in until much later. The International Song of Stalking isn’t one that I think she really should have slowed down like this, and I don’t think it was a good song choice at all.
Randy thought it would have been more interesting if the band wouldn’t have ever came in. Paula liked this week more than last week (I don’t even remember last week’s, which is how memorable this girl is for me) and then she says some more words that make me want to kick my TV. Simon agreed with Randy about leaving the band out, and thought it was good enough to keep her in the competition. I don’t know what it is about her, but I’m just not a fan.
Michael Johns. 1978, son, and he turns it out with some Queen – "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions". It’s totally a Michael John’s remix. He’s a very exciting guy, because he can pull off the rock genre and also the douchey ballad side of things. The thing is – he’s just singing Queen; he’s not throwing any originality into it at all, which turns it into a mimic-like performance. To his credit, there’s not a lot you can do, though, to make a Queen song yours, because… well, it’s Queen. You just can’t.
He gets positive feedback from Randy (it was the best performance since he’s been on the show), Paula ("this was your moment, your shining moment"), and Simon ("this is the first time with you I saw star potential"). It was definitely the right choice for him, and the judges didn’t have a negative thing to say. Yay, Big Mike!
Carly Smithson. She was born in 1983 and she was named after Carly Simon. That’s cute You know, every time I hear "Total Eclipse of the Heart", I can only sing along as if it were The Dan Band performing. (Must see reference video, if you’ve never seen/heard The Dan Band!) Carly’s kinda like Michael Johns – give her the music and she’s going to sing the hell out of it. This performance was no different. She put a little of her own spin on it, and it was just like something you’d see in a concert.
Randy didn’t like the song choice, and doesn’t like the whole rock thing with Carly. Paula thinks Carly could turn any song into something she’d go buy. Something didn’t quite work, according to Simon, and he encouraged her to lighten up a little bit.
David Archuleta. I think he’s singing something from 2002. Okay, he’s actually singing 1990’s "You’re the Voice" by David Foster with Jeff Pescetto. I have never heard of this song, and ever since I watched some video earlier this week about David licking his lips all the time, I can’t stop staring at his pretty mouth. He doesn’t forget any of the words, and he has a good time. I think anytime this kid can do that, he’s gonna get some good feedback from the judges and the voters.
Randy thought it was a strange song choice, but says "David has mad skills". For probably the sixth time this season, Paula tells a contestant that he/she could sing the phone book, and she’d like it. Simon thought his performance was reminiscent of a theme park performance – and even calls the song ghastly, which is a word we should use more often!
Kristy Lee Cook. I don’t like her either, but that probably doesn’t surprise you. I don’t remember what year she was born, but it’s whatever year Lee Freakin’ Greenwood sang "God Bless the U.S.A." YAWN. I guess I’d probably pick this song too if VoteForTheWorst was backing me in the competition. It’s not the judges can be all "YOU SUCK", because everyone would hate them for hating America, too.
Simon says it’s "most clever song choice I’ve heard in years", which is his snarky way of saying WAY TO PANDER, COWGIRL. Randy thought it was nice and Paula said bop boop beep. Or something like that.
David Cook. This guy is also one of my favorites. He’s from Missouri (yay!) and he was born in 1982. He sings "Billie Jean", but so so so not the Michael Jackson version of it. He’s sans guitar tonight, and at first I was a little disappointed, because I love his mad guitar playing skills. But holy shit, he was my favorite performer of the night. There’s gonna be scandal, I can promise, that David didn’t do that arrangement on his own. But guess what, fatheads, Ryan said it was someone else’s version when he introduced him. And no matter whose version it was or who arranged it, that boy owned it about fourteen times over. It was a terrific performance.
Randy calls him the most original performer and says he might be the one "to win the whole lot". Paula can’t sit down, because she has to tell him how smart and brave he is. Simon also calls it brave, and says his performance was amazing.
So, listen, the bottom three: Syesha, Ramiele, and Kristy Lee Cook. And because America loves America songs, I think (and kinda hope) that Ramiele goes home.