|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. Will.i.am 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.
Lauren is doing a Miley Cyrus song, "The Climb," and Jimmy tells her that she's a much better singer than Miley, which flusters her a bit. Even more, Jimmy gets all mercenary and realistic and says, "There's a whole raft of Pia fans out there, and you could snap up those votes." Uh-oh...shit just got real, y'all! Will+ chimes in and says, "Don't steal 'em...invite 'em. You can make 'em little cupcakes, make 'em little spaghettis 'n' stuff." Heh. Oh, Will+, you are growing on me.
Oops, Angry Stylist is back this week--Lauren looks like Aubrey O'Day in that her makeup has been applied with a putty knife. She's also in a silver zebra-print bustier and a black tutu. I can only assume that she is stealing Angry Stylist's donut every morning. Anyway, she sings her Miley song serviceably, shows off some big notes, but she's not moving around the stage much at all, and I think she could be performing better, if not singing better. But then, this might just be a dull song. (Miley supporters are welcome to show me where I've gone wrong.) J.Lo starts out with, "Hey girl!" and then a long pause which seems to presage bad news. And there kind of is--she said she sang beautifully, but she knows Lauren can go further. Alas, she doesn't indicate to Lauren how she should go further, or in which direction she should go. Maybe Randy will explain? Ahahaha. No, he says she was amazing and the song sounded like it was written for her. PEOPLE! THERE ARE ONLY TWO GIRLS LEFT! HELP THEM. Steven tells us they've loved Lauren from the beginning, and that she "moves him beyond tears." He managed not to be skeevy, even!
Stefano is next. He tells us he was at peace last week, expecting to go home, and that it was "a tough night for America." But our long national nightmare is over, and Stefano is here. Jimmy and Will+ give him some tough love and basically insist that he sack up. Alas, his song choice, "End of the Road" by Boyz 2 Men, isn't exactly saying "Fireball." (Quiz: do you know what movie that's from? Apparently, Boomerang.) It seems ill-advised as a soloist with a spotty fan base to take on a song that's generally written for a whole group, no? At least he has a flock of back-up singers to help him. Or mess him up, depending.
Stefano does fine in his usual boring way, and now it's time for the judging! Randy begins with some name-dropping, saying that "his man Yanwe (sp???)" would be texting him to say that Stefano slayed the song. Steven says he milked the emotion from the song perfectly, and that it's not the end of the road. J.Lo says "it's like...it's like you got it." Thanks, J.Lo. That's specific. But she says that now he is not "singing to stay, but singing to win." Go, Stefano.
Just to remind you all: no one has been bad, or in any way worthy of criticism, thus far. It's like freaking Montessori Idol.
|Wally would be a much tougher judge. When they have Cat Idol, watch out.|
After a killer commercial break (boop-boop), we return to listen to Scotty, who starts out planning to sing "Everybody's Talking" by Harry Nilsson, but changes his mind and switches to George Strait's "I Cross My Heart," from a movie called "Pure Country." I think this is cheating. Jimmy doesn't think Scotty should have switched. Seems to me that choosing a movie about a country singer, starring a country singer, singing his country hit, negates the purpose of a theme night entirely. Feh.
Scotty still has meat hands on the microphone, too. He's sitting on a stool doing that head-tilting lean he does. I begin to fear he has singing-induced scoliosis. Sit up straight, young man! This performance is fine, but just like everything else he does. I don't suppose the judges will complain, though. Steven doesn't, anyway--says he picked just the right song. J.Lo has been reading my blog, apparently, because she begins with, "Everybody wants us to be tough, but all I can say is 'Wow.'" Thanks for nothing, J.Lo. Randy does no better, saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." To heck with all of you! You are making me switch to the X Factor! I miss Simon's acid tongue!
When I stop fast-forwarding, Casey is talking about some gnocchi dish he orders. Whatever, dude. Casey chose Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy" at first, but Jimmy vetoes it, saying that Casey "got small." Casey's second choice was "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins, and he sounds pretty good in rehearsal...but ultimately he decided to switch back to "Nature Boy." Jimmy's basically like, "Fuck him, his loss." I think this is a bad choice, because none of the kids in the audience will know what he's singing. Oops! And there's Angry Casey Face back. Dude, this is bad--so bad that the sound on my cable just cut out! But he's making more scary growl faces. He's sure depending on the magic of his upright base on this one...but I feel like I'm in a bad jazz club. Casey, this is not the time, dude. Oh, and now there's scatting. Ugh. But the audience is on their feet cheering, as are the judges. What. Ever.
I think Casey makes the judges feel like they're discerning. J.Lo said that at the beginning, she was doubtful, but by the end, she loved that he was an artist and not a pop star. Um, Casey's not Norah Jones, J.Lo. But thanks for playing. Randy agrees, and compliments the show on its ability to choose a mix of people. He says names like Herbie Hancock and Charles Mingus, but it's basically thrown into a word salad that doesn't say much about Casey. Winds up saying it was brilliant, though. Steven? No, Randy's still talking. Shut up, Randy. No, seriously. Steven, please just say "beautiful" and stop. Oh, Steven loves it because his mom sang it to him as a lullaby. He also says "artist" a lot, and I'm trying to catch up so I'm fast forwarding through the rest.
Haley's our next and final girl--wonder if Angry Stylist got her, too? She's going to sing a song from "American Gigolo"...Blondie's "Call Me." Awesome song...she has a big enough voice, but can she hit the high notes? Eek, I don't like how this starts--the notes are scoopy and seem like they're forced. Also, I can't decide if her outfit is cute or terrible. It's a very confusing time for me! Sparkly minidress in a sort of stained-glass look, with thigh-high purple boots. She's growly and seems to be having fun, but I don't think the dynamics are quite there on the bridge. She does a little screaming at the end, which Steven will probably like. Wonder if James is sweating it back there?
Honestly, I don't think this was as good as last week, but it was fine. The judges will fawn over her, because apparently no one does anything wrong on this show. OMG! Randy is giving actual criticism! He says he didn't like the beginning, and that it didn't showcase her voice enough. [Gordon shouts from the other room, "IT SUCKED!"] Steven says that the chorus was gorgeous, and that her dress is gorgeous (which makes Haley cringe a little and barely resist tugging her hem a little lower). J.Lo tentatively agrees with Randy, but says "I'm so afraid to say anything about any of the girls because I don't want any more of them to go home!" Cry me a river, J.Lo.
Next is Jacob, whom every week I forget is even on this show. Go home, Jacob! He comes to Jimmy and Will+ with a couple of song choices, but they're both wet squibs and Jimmy knows it. He basically tells Jacob not to be stupid, and to sing "Bridge over Troubled Waters" from "The Pursuit of Happyness" [also sic]. I will grudgingly agree that this is an excellent choice for Jacob's voice. He's in a suit with no tie, accompanied by a pianist. I wish his suit had more style. Maybe Angry Stylist dislikes him as much as I do? He's gospelled up the song and is doing his usual oversinging, but it's a strong enough song to withstand it. Oof! But it won't withstand falling off the held note like that, Jacob. As is typical with Jacob, the whole song is BIG and there's no small moment to offset it. Plus, at the end, I think he missed another note or two, but no one else seems to care. Steven certainly doesn't, as he praises those notes in particular. I'm willing to give Jacob the benefit of the doubt in this case, because I have martini ears tonight. J.Lo loves the song and says he gave her the chills, even though she didn't want to have them. Randy agrees that his conviction comes through in every word. I remain solidly anti-judges on this one.
Oh, and my sound has gone out again, but Ryan seems to be gibbering with the judges, so it's just as well. Egads...James is doing something from the movie "Heavy Metal," but because I have no sound right now, I don't know what song. Even without sound, the movie poster is terrifying. There's a sword-wielding woman in a bustier riding a..pterodactyl? I will try to find it and put it in the blog later.
Anyway, whatever the song is, James is adamant about it, even though Jimmy thinks it has no hook. James tries to mouth off and say "You and I both know you can't hear the potential of a #1 hit song just on the piano." The words are hardly out of his mouth before Jimmy's all, "Who can't?" and Will+ jumps in, "I can." You said it, guys! I can tell if a book will suck after reading two paragraphs--I believe you can do the same with music. In fact, I'm giving an extra plus to Will++.
Incidentally, James is looking a little puffy. I think someone has fallen off his workout routine while on the show. You'll also be relieved to hear that he IS sporting a buttscarf tonight. I still have no idea what song he's singing, but it involves the line "the beast is ready to devour/all the metal you can rock." Could it be called just "Heavy Metal"? This song is boring as anything. And it seems to be mostly about the guitar, not the singing--there's a huge solo in the middle, and James isn't playing! It's a guest guitarist! Oh, it might be called "One Way Ticket to Midnight." I dunno. It's still stupid. The camera is all over the place, to the extent that it's losing James screen time.
Whatever, I thought that was awful, but because of the song rather than the singing. The audience is going absolutely nuts, though. J.Lo begins and says "That felt really, really real! I loved that." Randy says, "You guys were just at a James Durbin concert" which would have been more meaningful if he hadn't already used that line about Paul. But he does take the time to introduce us to the guest musician, who turns out to be Zakk Wylde, Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist. [Yes, I looked up the spelling.] Then Randy just starts shouting, "Zakk Wylde rules!" over and over again. He is so not cool. Steven loved it as well, and particularly loved James sassing Jimmy in rehearsal.
And we're out! A whirlwind tour, but at least now I can watch 90 minutes in about 60. At this point, the only person the judges criticized all night was Haley, who would have been the next to go based solely on the fact that she's a girl, so I don't know who to pick for the bottom three. I'll say Haley, and also Stefano and...Casey? Because of that weird song? What do you think?