Yikes! A little extra Idol drama tonight, as my cable was frozen on some doc about stick insects and we had to reboot the whole shebang. I'm joining tonight just in time for the last verse of Casey singing "Heard It Through the Grapevine." He sounded a little screechy today, but he worked the hell out of the crowd. All three judges love that Casey sticks to his essential Caseyness. (Or, as Randy so eloquently puts it, "You do you." Such a wordsmith, that one.) We get to see some of Casey's friends, including a girl that he sang to...Ryan suggests that she's a girlfriend, and Casey pushes the "friend" button a little hard, if you ask me. Sorry, chica.
Sigh. I have spilled on my t-shirt. That'll teach me to blog during dinner. Now that we're all attached to our tech 24/7, I'm going to invent a line of stylish bibs to prevent this type of disaster. They will be called Take a Bytes.
Wow. The guitarist from Aerosmith is in the audience (in what looks like terrible seats, given that he knows one of the judges). He is wearing a top hat. I will say no more. And Thia is next, singing "Heat Wave." Yay! Something that's not adagio! I am pleased. Aw, she looks cute, too--pink tiered skirt, hair in a ponytail. She gets out there and does a decent job...walks around a bit, sings pretty much on key (a little flat?), but she's kind of mumbly. I kept feeling like she was about to forget the words and vamped to cover it. J.Lo liked it (ish) but thinks it didn't go as far as it could--she chose a good song, but she's not acting the emotion. J.Lo is wearing an unacceptable amount of blue eyeshadow, FYI. Randy agrees with J.Lo, and praises Thia for "taking a chance" and singing something up tempo. (That's hardly a chance, given that they pretty much told her, "If you don't stop singing these dirges, we'll boot your ass.") Steven gives a weird, wishy washy "I'm good with it." All the judges sounded a little...grudging? in their praise. Did Thia kick their dogs? Fleece them in a Ponzi scheme?
Slice of life moment: last night I came home and parked the car in our nearby lot, since I couldn't find a space on the street. The lot charges from 9am-10pm, but is free overnight, so I got a space and planned to pay in the morning on my way to work. Well, I forgot to pay, so I figured, "Oops, might have a ticket when I get home." But when I came home at the end of the day...no car. I thought I'd gotten it towed, and called Gordon to say "The car's not here and I forgot to pay and I think they towed it I'm soooooorrrrry!" At which point he told me he'd already moved it and there was no ticket. Whew!
Ugh, it's Jacob the Oversinger now. He's doing Marvin Gaye's "You're All I Need to Get By." This week should be a gimme for him, although Jimmy I. is making one more valiant effort to stop all the overdone ornamentation, using the same line I give to authors in love with a particular writing device: "If you do it all the time, it won't be special or powerful anymore." Sometimes that actually works. Will it here?
I don't actually know this song, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but Jacob is starting out calm and slow, which is a refreshing change. Also he's in a pink button down shirt and tie and looks great! He clearly tips Angry Stylist...but not enough to get a jacket that really fits him--his is pulling at the one closed button. Wow, he finally listened to Jimmy! It was much much better, not all covered in melisma and screaming. And the judges go nuts for it--they love it. (If only you three idiots had backed Jimmy up anytime in the past four weeks, you could have had this ages ago.) Ugh, Ryan is now soliciting hugs and kisses from the front row for Jacob. Apparently we have that much time to fill. But he stops them when a guy gets to the front of the line. No fair!
Lauren is singing "You Keep Me Hanging On." Not sure how this will go, but Rock Mafia suggested it, and who would know better? She begins really slow and smoky/twangy...but I think she and Angry Stylist are still having a spat. She's in a zebra-print maxidress that's a speck too long for her and makes her look a little hippy. She sounds good, marches around the judges, flirts w/Randy, but it's a little rote. Somehow, she's lost her gravelly quality and feels a little generic, although it sounded OK. The judges are happier than I am--Steven thinks she made it her own, J.Lo thinks she looks gorgeous and sounds good, and Randy declares that Lauren has her swagger on and is ready to compete. I, alas, have no swagger.
And now, a blog in memoriam for Elizabeth Taylor, who died today. I remember her fondly in National Velvet, and hope that today she is galloping The Pie across the finish line.
Have you all seen this ad for the flash mob show? The ad bothers me for a variety of reasons, which I will now enumerate. 1) I think it's a dated premise. 2) We already have YouTube. 3) That guy made his proposal about as un-intimate as it could possibly be. 4) We need to stop using that Chris Brown song for romantic wedding moments because HE BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF HIS GIRLFRIEND, PEOPLE.
Oy, Gordon Ramsey is in the audience at Idol. Don't you have a restaurant to sink, dude? Oh, and now Ryan's snacking on some homemade pasta leftover from when Stefano's mom popped by the Idol mansion to cook. She likes garlic, apparently.
Jimmy also tells Stefano to pull back when singing his song, "Hello" by Lionel Richie. Um, how is this Motown? Josh, jump in here and school us, would you? I think this is a sketchy choice, and I'm even more annoyed when Stefano professes never to have heard it. I think I'm getting too old to watch this show. Plus, I want to force Stefano to watch the clay-sculpting video on an endless loop. He's singing a weird, all-over-the-place arrangement with lots of high notes and straining. J.Lo starts, and she's actually giving him good advice: "We know you can sing like crazy. The audience knows. I don't want the intensity to come from your wanting to do well...I want it to come from the emotion." Basically, he sounded fine, but failed to connect with the song or the audience. He's still struggling to keep his eyes open. Randy and Steven agree--he has everything but the emotional connection. Maybe he should take a number from this poster.
You may all be interested to know, while we're waiting for our next contestant, that the Abzurdity commentariat came down firmly in favor of shark diving vs. bull riding. (The presence of cages and professionals seemed to sway most readers.) I appreciate your input and will pass the results along to Gordon. Also, I will try to include some more poll questions, once I figure out how to put a poll in my post. Any Blogger-savvy readers who want to help me, I welcome your advice.
Uh-oh, Gordon's gotten a hold of Stefano's leftovers, and he just told Ryan, "Thank God he can sing." Gordon, you douche, didn't you pay attention? The kid's mom made that, and she's sitting here! You are not on your show now, so leave her alone. Even Ryan is taken aback and cuts to the clip right quick.
Haley's next, and she's hoping that Smokey Robinson's "You Really Got a Hold on Me" will keep her out of the bottom 3 this week. I like this song, but I think Haley just has an essential unlikeability about her that is going to keep her in the bottom regardless. She starts out marching down the steps in a white blazer and black short-shorts, with her hair all blown out straight. Hair looks great, shorts look...inappropriate. Man, I'm not liking this. Haley's flailing all over the stage, singing without much bottom in her voice, and she lacks texture. Maybe teenagers shouldn't sing the blues. Randy claims that although the first part was rough, the second half had the "Haley they love come roaring back." Eh. Steven feels him, though, and says it was beautiful. Also that Haley "don't look a day over fabulous." Whatever, Steven, it's time for your pill. J.Lo also found her very soulful, though I did not. (I bet Jimmy the Wise would agree with me, though.)
Ha! Scotty is next. What Motown song is most cowboyish?
I need to bring laundry to the laundromat tonight, but part of me wants to just pour some soap on it and hang it out the window in this rainstorm. (With my luck, the hail would return and put holes in everything. Although now that I think of it, that's pretty much what the laundromat machines do anyway.)
We're back! And Scotty can throw a basketball from far away. Gripping. You'll be shocked to learn that Scotty didn't listen to much Motown growing up--yes, I know, I was rattled too. But he has heard of Michael Jackson, so he's singing "For Once in My Life." Yeah, I'm a little confused by that transition as well, since he's singing the Stevie Wonder version. (Is Scotty saying that all Motown singers look alike? Surely not.)
Scotty's starting seated on the Idol Staircase, and this is definitely a country rendition of the song. There's a harmonica, and he's taken all the syncopation out of the song--basically, there is not a lick of groove left in it. To shamelessly reuse a Twitter joke, this is Motown for the groove-intolerant. The audience is cheering madly, but this is an abomination. It lacks feeling, he sounds pinched, and Stevie Wonder is preparing to drive himself to the Kodak Theatre in order to punch Scotty in the junk. Steven Tyler disagrees with me, though, and thinks it was beautiful. J.Lo loves the way he made it his own, even though "it wasn't your strongest performance." Randy also liked him, praises him for taking chances (again, it was Motown, dawg--anything he sang was going to be a chance). But hey, they love him. Just wait until Electronica Night.
I'm trying to think of non-TV-related nonsense to put in the middle of the recaps, but the most ridiculous thing I've seen today is the weather. We've had snow, rain, thunder and hail all in one day. I await locusts.
Jennifer Beals is in the audience? Wow, she looks gorgeous. But that's random.
Pia is singing Stevie Wonder's "All In Love Is Fair," and her producer says "there's just not singers like her any more." I fear that may be the kiss of death on this show, though--doesn't that say Not Radio Friendly? Wow, Pia raided Hilary Swank's old Oscar closet, and is wearing a black, full-length jersey dress with a high neck and NO back. She looks good, though. Still oldish. And this song is slooooooowwww. I feel bad for not liking it more, because Pia's singing it well, but as always, she's dull. Uh-oh, J.Lo begins with "Again, you kill us...with one of your beautiful ballads (sigh)." J.Lo is saying, if Pia's going to be Celine Dion, then she needs to Work. The. Room. Stop standing there like a lump. (I hope J.Lo's judging power is not in her crazy eyeshadow! She is freakishly cogent this evening.) Randy agrees--enough with the ballads, we're all sick of them. Steven seems to have gone to sleep. But he wakes up to tell Pia that she is "the closest star in the American Idol universe." And she gets another beautiful. Could we take up a collection to buy Steven another adjective?
I think the chicks from "Hop" are just "Despicable Me" minions that grew moldy.
Time for Paul the Squeaker. He'll be singing "Tracks of My Tears," which is probably appropriate for his voice, if not his style. He plays it on an acoustic guitar in rehearsal, but it seems like he won't be for the show. Are they not letting the kids use instruments this year? They did in Hollywood, and a lot of the performances were far more appealing. Oh, no, he's got it. Never mind. Ooh, this is...odd. Well, it's very Paul. At least the guitar and standing mic have suppressed his usual St. Vitus' dance around the stage. I hate him less this week, but I think this is feeling pretty one-note. Randy likes the guitar and the more relaxed stage movement, but thought the beginning was a little tight. He loves when Paul "sings tender." Steven thinks Paul's unique voice is like Dylan or Willie Nelson. He calls it--wait for it--beautiful. J.Lo likes his confident performance (he actually said hello to the audience) and things he just needs the right producer to take off. He was OK. Didn't hate the arrangement like I did Scotty's.
Naima is next. Think she learned to sing yet?
A friend called me at work today, very angry about something being laid at her feet that wasn't her fault, and told me she was going to e-mail someone about it. She read me the e-mail and when she finished I said, "Um...". She said, "You think I shouldn't send it." So I talked her down, and she didn't send it. I am either the voice of wisdom, or a total wimp--but I like being a Hothead Hotline.
Naima is singing...what? I can't understand her. Oh, "Dancing in the Street." Her rehearsal dress is a full length gown in a crazy red-and-orange fan print, so I can only imagine what she'll be wearing onstage. Oh, lord--she's planning a special African dance section, despite the fact that she can't breathe all the way through a song yet. Naima! This is not So You Think You Can Dance And Sing. Settle down.
OMG. Naima definitely ran over Angry Stylist's dog. She's in the widest bell bottoms I've ever seen, in battleship grey, along with a vest-wrap-top-thing. She looks like an aircraft carrier. I have no idea how she's singing because I can't look away from the crazy pants. There's an awesome drummer onstage with her, rocking out on a variety of Africanish looking drums. Oh, and now we're in Carnivale! OK, her African dancing was not good enough to have had so much time spent on it. The singing was OK this week, though. Steven begins and says "It was E to the Z to the Tweedleedee." Make of that what you will. Oh, she gets a "beautiful" at the end, so I guess it was good. J.Lo loved it, and said she gave her goosebumps for the first time all night. (All the contestants backstage are like, "Dammit.")
Who's in our pimp spot tonight? Oh, it's James. Will this be a with-butt-scarf night, or sans-butt-scarf night? I hope the latter--I don't think butt scarves are very Motown. Wow, Stevie Wonder's getting a workout tonight--James will be singing "Living for the City." Bob Babbett, famous bassist, is sharing the stage with him (he played earlier too, I just didn't mention it). James has mostly escaped the clutches of Angry Stylist, except that he insisted on a black butt scarf to go with his all-black outfit. Sigh. To his credit, he's working the stage, and doing pretty well, but he's still screechier than I'd like. But maybe that's because he bugs me. Crowd loves him, and I'm sure the judgery will too. J.Lo's already giggling and repeating "Omigod" over and over. I think he'll be safe. James is just milking the crowd's screaming--ugh, and now he's throwing rock horns. He's dead to me. Randy thought it started rough, but when he "hit the pocket" of his high notes, it was all good. Steven tells him once again that he's crazy in a good way.
Oops--got bounced out of my Twitter Idol party because Twitter started doing that thing where its page won't load all the way. Oh, well--we were done.
So who are your predictions for bottom 3? I'm going to go with Haley and Thia, but I'm stumped on the last one...I'd say Stefano, but he seems to have won over the tweens and their moms. Naima? Tune in tomorrow and find out!