What was funny about tonight's episode is that at the beginning I thought it looked like a much more competitive group than last week’s. Before anyone sang I thought that between Jasmine Murray, Matt Giraud, Nick Mitchell, Megan Corkrey, Matt Breitzke, Kai Kalama and Adam Lambert, it would be pretty tough to pick the top 3-5 or so. However, like last week, a lot more people sucked than didn't although I think overall the performances were better. But moreover, this is a hell of a slog. I was watching this more or less in real time and my eyes began glazing over around 8:15 or so. More is not better, Idol producers.
Jasmine Murray is a very pretty girl but she suffered the same fate as Stevie from last week by taking the judges' suggestions way too literally. Kara had recommended that some other girl sing "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles and so Jasmine figured, I think, that meant it was a good idea for her to sing the song. First off, the audio production of the show was not good tonight—I could barely hear Jasmine over the band, and a lot of other singers suffered the same fate. I could still hear though the song was way too low for Jasmine in the beginning, and her riffs were ill-conceived. I had no idea who she was as a performer after that song. The judges felt the same way.
OK but Matt Giraud, the dueling pianist, was sure to heat things up, right? Uh, no, he decided to sing some song by Joe Satriani (that's a Coldplay/plagiarism joke, for you not hipped in to my hilarious in-jokes). I thought “Viva la Vida” was a horrible choice for him—he should be singing white-boy soul, Justin-Timberlake stuff. Chris Martin has an affected voice and without him (and the band) the songs are extra flaccid. Matt didn't seem to hit the notes that great and even his "big" moments were pretty weak. The judges were disappointed in him and Randy went apeshit, saying, I quote, "Chris wouldn't be singing Ray Charles and you can. YO!" It was one of the first times where a judge told a performer to quit digging himself in a hole, as Matt tried to say that he wanted to be more of a Chris Martin than a Ray Charles and Simon told him to zip it.
Jeanine Vailes looks more like an America's Next Top Model contestant than an American Idol contestant. She sang "This Love" by Maroon Five. I actually thought it was kind of a cute choice for a sexy girl with a bit of attitude but she didn't sing it well and the best Paula could offer was "Great legs. It's season 8. Simon?" Which is undeniably true. Simon elaborated: "I thought it was terrible. But you do have very good legs." Then there was some possible double-entendre-ing going on between Cara and Simon regarding Jeanine's lips that I don't even want to think about. Ryan was kind of funny when he asked Jeanine afterwards, "Based on the judges' reaction, what did you do to prepare your legs for tonight?" She gave a handful of excuses and begged for her chance to stay but at this point we were 0 for 3 in terms of top twelve potential.
So then we got to Nick Mitchell, who was himself at the beginning of the show, giving a saucy "What?" to the screen upon his introduction, but he performed as Norman Gentle, in a white set of tails. His "And I Am Telling You" was utterly cheesy and self-conscious, as he made love to the set and hammed it up with the audience. I have to say he is entertaining and some day I'd like to hear what he sounds like actually singing and not just milking the spotlight. I also enjoyed his parents: the first shot of his Dad caught him looking absolutely furious and I was worried that there was some sort of soap opery "My son can sing but I don't understand why he wastes his time with this Norman Gentle nonsense" but then he seemed to be digging it along with the rest of the audience. The audience LOVED it and even Simon cracked up before he sent Nick to the AI judges' equivalent of Davy Jones' locker. The judges all said the same thing—that he's entertaining and has a singer in him somewhere but they don't seem to think that he'll be around. I mean even Ryan said that Nick doesn't belong in the top twelve but I think Ryan hates Nick for being taller and more personable. There was a cute moment where Paula fumbled her words and said, as we do sometimes, "Blah blah blah" and Simon said "That will do." Anyway I'm not holding my breath but there is a little chance, I think, of Nick making it to the top twelve. You know, I don't care. This isn't voting for the President. If Idol really did go back to a votefortheworst situation I'd be much happier with a Norman Gentle than with a Sanjaya.
Then we met Allison Iraheta who I thought was weird or trying too hard to have a personality or perhaps on drugs during her chat with Ryan before her performance. She was going to sing "Alone" by Heart. She belted it—I actually thought it was a teensy bit overwrought (which is how you have to do Heart, I admit) but the judges LOVED her. Randy said that she "blew it out the box" which is the second quasi-vaginal comment of the night. I thought she was good, especially for a teen, but I didn't think she was a prodigy or anything. She has a shot at top twelve but I wouldn't call it a lock.
Kris Allen sang next, a guy who I was not familiar with prior to tonight. My first impression is that he's a cute guy, sort of a cross between Hal Sparks and Jeremy Sisto. I thought his rendition of "Man in the Mirror" was better than could be expected. Kara only thought it was OK but Paula disagreed and then Simon agreed with HER, which earned him a kiss. "And the chicks are gonna love you" said Simon. Top twelve? Maybe. I could stand looking at his face for another week, sure. Didn't his jacket look like it was stolen off David Archuleta, by the way?
Get ready nerds because your crush of the season has arrived. Megan Corkrey has tattoos, sings in an old-timey way and is a font designer. Maybe she even has a Princess Leia bikini hidden in her closet, too. She sang "Put Your Records On" by Corinne Bailey Rae. I thought she was fine except for the Kristy Lee Cook hair. The judges hearted her and she hearts herself—when Simon said he thought one part of the song was "shouty," she said "I sort of think I rocked that part." Here's my thing—the judges all think she's totally unique and whatever but in the same breath mentioned Duffy, Adele and Amy Winehouse. I think she's capable but I personally am a little over the "retro songbird thing" but what do I know. She probably has good odds for the top twelve.
Idol has a bear obsession, don't you think? Each season features at least one "man of means" with a heart of gold or something. Matt Breitzke, who has some sort of blue-collar job that is not as impressive as roughnecking, sang Tonic's "If You Could Only See." Here the judges and I parted ways because they thought it was awful and not as good as his singing in Hollywood, but I, not knowing what he got up to in Hollywood, thought it was fine. Not awesome, but I wouldn’t take a poo on it.
Jesse Langseth is another single mom (singing leads to getting pregnant!) who went with "Bette Davis Eyes.” I think it was kind of a weird song choice because I think it's impossible not to hear it not in Kim Carnes' voice. I actually thought Jesse did a fine (but not amazing) job. I was a little confused by her look—she seems like she needs a better stylist, between her casual jeans and casual/sexy top and her odd makeup. Randy's box was not blown out by the performance and Simon (accurately) said that Jesse's a bit forgettable but she did lead everyone in a fun hand-clapping session.
Kai Kalama seems like a nice guy but we needed some definite "no's" tonight and he was one of them. His performance of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" was terribly corny, from his delivery to his stupid shirt. This was definitely where I started to lose focus on the episode because all I could really think about was how much Kai needed a haircut. Simon accurately pointed out that there were so many performances like his over the years and it just won’t measure up anymore.
Then Mishavonna Henson sang "Drops of Jupiter" by Train, a song I hate but I actually thought she sang it quite well and I liked her outfit and that she looks a little bit like Pink. I didn’t think she was a slam-dunk but I thought she was fine; however the judges said that she needed to loosen up and that she left them cold. Frankly I think they were kind of full of shit and feeling tired and bored like I was. Basically Mishavonna is a good singer but had the misfortune of not being in-your-face or at the beginning of the program. The truth is that there just weren't as many slam-dunk crowd-pleasers tonight.
Except of course for Adam Lambert. Adam really bugged me through auditions with his hair and makeup and clothes and jewelry and nail polish. It doesn't really matter how he sang because Ryan compared him to Twilight's Robert Pattinson so good night and f u everybody else. His performance of "Satisfaction" was definitely full of stage presence and he can sing but it was so over-the-top what with the camera-raping and the lip-licking. Maybe I was just tired but I felt resigned regarding Adam. I don't like him but I couldn't get up the energy to hate him. I'm sure I'll get it back though as I'm positive he'll make the top twelve. As for who the other three will be, I'm not positive—we'll find out.
—Apparently this explains the wild card for those who still don’t have it figure out.
—Did anyone know what Ryan was talking about when he referenced Simon’s issues with the lighting on last week’s show?
—Ryan’s "THIS….." in his introduction of the show (ie preceding “…is American Idol”) was especially pregnant tonight. I would like to hear a mashup of that plus Tyra Banks’ “WHO!?!…will be going home tonight?”
—Boo to Idol being on Wednesday and Thursdays. I'm looking forward to next week when the President doesn't screw up my TV watching schedule.