Saturday, April 30, 2011

Top 6 - Results

This is cheating, since I'm doing it immediately after watching the Idol show late...but that should keep it short.  I wasn't going to do a post at all, but upon seeing that Steven Tyler came dressed as Bella Abzug today, I felt it required comment.  Hell, it requires illustration:
Just sayin'.

Top 6 - Songs of Carole King

Hello, Idol fans! I'm sorry I was so late this week...was out Weds and Thursday nights, and have only just been able to sit down and watch the show.  But I appreciated all the "where's the blog?" queries--it's nice to hear you're out there reading :).

So, this week's theme is "the music of Carole King."  Now, I think she's great (and not just because she guest starred on Gilmore Girls), but are the producers truly concerned about making these kids seem fresh and current?  It's not that the music's not wonderful, but even in the intro video about how great she is, they show a roster of album covers to indicate who she's written for, and the most recent one there is Celine Dion.  Explain again why you dragged Gwen Stefani onto the show and only let her dress the girls that week?  Ah, well, I certainly don't begrudge King the royalties.  And the songs are cool--maybe one of these kids will manage to pull a David Cook/Adam Lambert and do something fresh with it.  Then again, maybe not.

So, who will be the first contestant to stare blankly at Jimmy while he talks about these songs?  It's Jacob, who meets Jimmy and special guest Babyface as the mentor.  Perhaps is off harvesting new periods.  (Incidentally, Babyface longer babyfaced.)  Jacob is a little rattled by his bottom three finish of last week, but he jumps into rehearsing "Oh No, Not My Baby," which he'll be singing as a duet with a woman who isn't introduced. Jacob is having trouble getting the timing right...perhaps it's because of the terrible mom jeans he's wearing.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Basket

Flipped on the news this morning to learn that a man who's a big fan of the Cadbury Creme Egg has petitioned Cadbury to make a giant-size version...and he has 25,000 people who agree with him!

Apparently Cadbury says this is a no-go, not only because they're doing just fine with their currently sized eggs, but also because the process becomes technically difficult. Guess we'll have to content ourselves with the existing bite-size pockets of sugary goodness.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Top 7 - Results

Well, not too many surprises tonight.  Casey escaped my predicted bottom, so we're choosing between Jacob, Stefano and Haley.  Ryan messes with Haley a bit, sending her to the Stools of Doom and then pulling her right back off.  So we're picking between Jacob and Stefano? I'm FINE with that. They can both go.

In the group sings, Jacob/Stefano/Haley/Lauren did Train's "Hey Soul Sister," which was OK-not-great (except for the fact that we had to hear that overplayed song again).  Casey/James/Scotty did Coldplay, and although Scotty's first line made me think, "See? You CAN do stuff that's not country," in general they were terrible.  The three of them can't harmonize at all, and just sound off.

David Cook debuted his new single, which was OK pop, and his mom jumped up to meet Steven Tyler, which was cute. Katy Perry came on dressed as the Queen of Tron and sang...Kiss Me? Supernatural? Who knows. She's wearing a light-up jumpsuit and a silver helmet, that's all you need to know.  KATY PERRY YOU ARE NOT LADY GAGA WE ALREADY HAVE ONE STOP THAT NOW.  Kanye comes out and does the bridge.  He is wearing a fur vest that looks more than a little feminine. Just sayin'.

So who's going home? Stefano! Jacob is safe.  Fair enough...not bad for a wild card.  Cut to James, who is hiding his head in his hands and seems to be crying.  It's OK, James, they're not going to execute him.  Stefano will go home and leer at many more girls in the future.  He chooses "Lately" as his singoff song, which sounds like Lionel Richie.  Oh, Stefano, I wish you well with your Lite FM stylings. Sayonara.

Until next week!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Top 7 - New Millennium Music

So our theme tonight is "Music from the 21st Century." Basically, they can choose anything they want as long as it was published after 2000. Somehow I suspect this freedom won't actually help most of them.

We open the show with a group the losers! Yes, Karen, Naima, Paul, Ashthon, Thia, Pia, Mia, See ya, Don' Wanna Be Ya are all back, singing Pink's "So What." The five girls march out first, singing about how they're "still a rock star," and Naima is going nuts, leaping and hopping and tossing her coat over the camera (which I bet pissed off the cameraman).  The rest of them are their usual staid selves by comparison, and there are some seriously questionable hair choices throughout.  They don't sound great, and when Paul joins them, singing the bridge in his raspy whistle, it gets even worse.  Pia tries feebly to harmonize with them, but their tones are so different that it's a wreck.  Basically, this number just confirmed that every boot America made was a good choice. Sorry, kids.

First up of our remaining contestants is Scotty--but not until we do a montage featuring the other contestants all making fun of the way he holds his mike and sings out of the side of his mouth.  Some of them are pretty uncanny, it must be said.  Scotty sings an insipid song called "Swinging," which is yet another in his safe country roster.  Jimmy begs him to think about trying something different--but not tonight.  He sounds fine, boring, but it's not a great song.  The judges have apparently learned their lesson at last, and decided to critique the contestants tonight, so all three of them tell Scotty he was a little safe and boring, and that they expected more.  J.Lo basically says, "You had a decade of music to pick from and you chose that?"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Top 8 - Music from the Movies

This recap may be a little wobbly, as it is powered primarily by dirty martinis.  Please forgive any subsequent incoherence.  We open by lingering on a sign that says "I Miss Pia"...but I hear she already got signed to a label, so we can forget about her now.  We also learn that J.Lo has been named the Most Beautiful Woman Alive by People Magazine.  She smiles in that I'm-so-embarassed-no-really-I'm-psyched fashion.
Still life with Wally - let's get a little art up in here!

And then we're right into the contestants! No time to waste when the show's only 90 minutes. Paul is first up, and for his "music from the movies" (tonight's theme), he'll be singing Bob Seger's "That Old Time Rock and Roll." Does he have the heft for this song? Hard to imagine it in Paul's piping voice. encourages him to do the whole "Risky Business" entry, underwear and socks included. Jimmy suggests adding a beatbox break, but Will+ vetoes that on the ground that it is the very opposite of "old time rock and roll." Well played, Will+!

Looks like Paul eschewed the underwear slide and settles for appearing at the top of the Idol stairs.  He's bopping all over the stage, but sure enough, I don't think his voice has enough bottom to give this fairly limited song much substance.  He's also not playing an instrument, which gives him range to Paul-dance all over the place. They distract him with a tambourine, like a fussy child, and then we're featuring a blond woman doing the saxophone solo.  All in all, despite all the dancing, this song felt weaker than his usual.  Could the teeth be losing power?  Steven praises his "crazy wild abandon and how it transcends [sic] to an audience." J.Lo feels that he's evolving every week and that he killed it. Randy, are we going to hear ANY criticism tonight? Nope. He loves Paul's weird charm and thinks it was awesome.  I guess Pia's dismissal last week hasn't wrought any changes in the judgery.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Top 9 - Results

I was pretty close with my guess for the bottom 3--Jacob and Stefano, but they picked Pia instead of Lauren.  Ryan's patented fakeout got me, as he tells Jacob he is sending him the couch.  Alas, Jacob the Sanctimonious is safe, and our loser is...Pia.

The judges are staggered; J.Lo's on the verge of tears, and Randy is giving us all a lecture about voting for whom we love.  Um, Randy, we did--is it not clear to you that the girls are falling one by one, because the voters will always pick a cute boy first? Did it not also occur to you that Pia, while a lovely and talented singer, is BORING?  You all should not be as surprised as you are.  And stop blaming America.

Steven says, "America, a mistake is one thing but lack of passion is unforgivable." For a minute, I thought he was saying something relevant about Pia's rather soulless performances...but no, he says our apathy caused this.  Well, yeah, kinda.  Sorry, Pia, you had no charisma.  Best of luck on your own.

Next week: can we please, PLEASE get rid of Jacob?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Top 9 - Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Night

We open with Steven T. talking about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and his induction thereunto.  He takes us through some of the artifacts in the HOF, including the handwritten lyrics to "Purple Haze," a jumpsuit worn by Elton John, and the most terrifying thing I've ever seen: a wax bust of Steven himself in full cry.  It looks like this:

Oh, we're also told that Gwen Stefani is here this week, styling the girls. (All 3 of them...seriously? There are only 3 left? Oof.)  Guys, you're apparently out of luck.  Nudie Suits for all! And of the Black Eyed Peas is helping to mentor our feckless singers.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Jane Eyre (2011)

Just got back from seeing the new version of Jane Eyre, and I loved it!  I've always loved that novel (couldn't stand Wuthering Heights with all its drama between two characters I thought were pretty rotten people)--maybe Jane speaks to the hyperresponsible first child part of me.  Or the "feels like a nerd" part. Either way, I thought this version captured the mood of the book perfectly, even as it condensed huge swathes of it.

Mia Wasikowska played Jane, and did so much with just a look or a set of her jaw to convey how much Jane struggles to tamp down her wilder instincts...and Michael Fassbender was a great Rochester, craggy and handsome-but-not-too-handsome.  You really felt the difference of age and class between them, even as you (and they) could see that Jane and Rochester are kindred spirits.

The movie also did an excellent job of bringing to life the Gothic terror of Jane's story--the haunted Red Room at the Reed's house, the moments when Bertha is prowling the halls of Thornfield--I felt her panic at the prospect of ghosts in a way I didn't when reading it.  (There's a moment at the very beginning of the movie that was played so casually and yet perfectly that the audience gasped in unison.)
The screenwriters condensed Jane's time at Lowood school, and with St. John Rivers, but still kept enough to please fans of the novel looking for literary touchstones--Helen Burns, or the ghostly whisper of Jane's name across the moors.  But the bulk of the story is at Thornfield...although nothing was missing, I found myself wishing we'd had an additional scene or two of Jane and Rochester battling wits and warming to one another.  And at the end of the movie, I longed for another beat or two of happy ending--but that's the romance fan in me.  All in all, I think this was a terrific adaptation and I'd recommend it!