Videos! Click the song links! (thanks Lawrence, for the video!)
- Amanda Overmyer – …Back in the USSR
- Kristy Lee Cook – …Youve Got To Hide Your Love Away
- David Archuleta – …Long and Winding Road
- Michael Johns – …A Day in the Life
- Brooke White – …Here Comes the Sun
- David Cook – …Day Tripper
- Carly Smithson – …Blackbird
- Jason Castro – …Michelle
- Syesha Mercado – …Yesterday
- Chikezie – …Ive Just Seen A Face
- Ramiele Malubay – …I Should Have Known Better
Ryan Seacrest opens the show, standing in one of the space-age balcony thingies, high atop the set, “Tonight, by popular demand, the #1 show in the country, celebrates the #1 band of all time…”
Seriously, the Beatles two weeks in a row? What’s the point? The kids did a really good job last week with the Lennon/McCartney songbook, why push it? And push it, indeed they did. I’m hearing the kids were working on another theme (birth year) when TPTB in their infinite wisdom, decided to change themes. The kids had to scramble to pick new songs. That bit of chaos shows in tonight’s performances.
It kind of sucks that the kids were forced on a mad dash Top 11 week. This week’s performances are important. The contestants who make the cut make the summer tour where they finally have the opportunity to make some real money. It’s not only the money, but the additional exposure they can add to their resume. The heat is definitely on.
Randy Jackson takes as many opportunities as he can to pimp his record with Paula Abdul, “Dance Like There’s no Tomorrow”. Paula expands her vocabulary! She says the kids who had “gumption” will continue to take risks. And, who pissed in Simon Cowell’s cornflakes? Just a question. You’d think he would have perked up after Kristy Lee Cook offered him a blow job. But, noooo. Seriously, There’s some very interesting back-talk to the judges this week.
Also, I have a question. Most of the contestants are wearing ear monitors tonight. In the past, that was only permitted in special cases–when a contestant had to start performing from out in the audience or if they were beginning a song acappella. So, what’s up with that?
Top 11 video packages feature the contestants discussing their favorite Idol moments, what the Idol experience has meant so far, and the thought process that lead to this week’s song choice.
Oh wait. This week’s theme is different. Ryan explains that last week it was “Lennon/McCartney”. This week it’s “The Beatles”. He calls it “expanding on a theme.” Whatever you say, Ryan. So, basically, we get one Harrison song tonight. Kind of like a typical Beatles album. George, up in Heaven, is so happy to be included in the madness, I’m sure.
Amanda Overmyer – …Back in the USSR – Amanda says she loves the big stage, but this week, she begins her performance tentatively. She doesn’t find her footing until about mid-song. Then, she owns the stage. But, by that time, the song is nearly over. Oh noes! Going first this early in the competition can be the death spot. I hope VFTW can save her! Amanda’s tough, bluesy presence is needed on this summer’s tour. Randy says, “Perfect song choice for you…it was just a little pitchy in the beginning, by the middle of the song, I think you started to feel the crowd and the energy…it was really cool at the end.” Paula says, “It was a little sketchy at first…you weren’t hearing the timing…it was a little off…but, when you connect, you are quintessential, authentic…I’d love to see you do a vulnerable ballad at one point.” Simon hated it, “It was predictable, a bit of a mess in parts…do something that’s a bit of a surprise…you are in danger of becoming a bit boring.” On stage with Ryan, defiant, Amanda declares, “Ballads are boring” and then explains that she has 1:30 to show the audience what they’d see if they came to her concert. I guess she doesn’t plan to sing any ballads. Simon shoots back, “Your tickets aren’t on sale yet…we might be jumping the gun a little bit.” Amanda, the pragmatist says, “Even if I need to sell out the local bar in Lafayette…that’s all I’m sayin…” I take her point, but the voting audience may not.
Stool chat with Kristy Lee Cook: She shows the audience pictures of her “critters”.
Kristy Lee Cook – …Youve Got To Hide Your Love Away – In her package, Kristy whines about being the the Bottom Three. She picked “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” to sing because she liked the title. She chirps, “I heard it for the first time today. *Sob* Surprisingly, I like the arrangement of the song–despite the fact it’s got strings and horns–a real departure from its folk origins. I can imagine one of the 60’s chanteuses like Cilla Black or Dusty Springfield performing it. Kristy Lee, however, doesn’t have the vocal chops or emotional range to pull it off. Bandzilla drowns her out in spots, and she looks totally lost on the big stage. Randy says, “One of my favorites…interesting arrangement…the whole song should have been a little more emotional.” Paula says, “This is the best you’ve ever looked….it was a little safe…it was good.” Simon, “I think you need something like hypnosis…the problem is that you’re not a good performer. It’s like musical wallpaper…you notice it, but you can’t remember it…apart from when you were terrible last week…” Kristy, frustrated by Simon’s negative critiques, offers him sexual favors. Or at least it sounds like that. On stage with Ryan, she points to Simon and says, “I can blow you out of your socks, and you know it.” She’s desperate!
David Archuleta – …Long and Winding Road – David’s vid features him blowing the lyrics last week. It seems that last week’s choke-fest was a good thing for him at this point in the competition. He was beginning to come off as super-teen-bot, mowing down everything in his path as he marched in for the win. Last week’s crack made him seem sweet and vulnerable, making his adoring fans love him even more. David talks about how embarrassing it was, and that he hopes to make up for it this week. “The Long and Winding Road” is one of those sappy McCartney tunes. I hate sappy McCartney tunes. Kill me now, but I have yet to see what’s so phenomenal about young David. He sings perfectly well, I just don’t feel a thing from his as I’m listening. I notice his earpiece and wonder if its some kind of pimping conspiracy. David’s big redemption begins with the judges comments. Even though Randy wished for more runs and glory notes, (Ugh) he says, “David Archuleta brought the hotness back to his game tonight…” Paula says, “This probably for me is the most exciting and wonderful performance…the purity of who you are and what your sound…is very identifiable…the fact that you can rise above adversity, come back strong, that challenge doesn’t build character, it reveals character…you’re wonderful.” Simon adds the cherry on top, “Last week was a complete mess, this week, I thought you were amazing…That was a masterclass.” Cut to David’s “stage-dad” looking happy. He isn’t going to kick David’s ass tonight. Yay.
The “mosh pit” = Waving Hands of Annoyance.
Kellie Pickler in da house tomorrow! And then Ryan pimps the iPhone. Idol and Apple sure are getting cozy.
Michael Johns – …A Day in the Life – Michael, in his vid, becomes nostalgic about one of the few truly great performances he’s had in this competition, “Bohemian Rhapsody” during Hollywood week. Hollywood must seem light years away, at this point, because Michael can’t seem to bring the magic back. Tonight is…it’s unfortunate. Maybe he thought triumphing on a difficult song would bring him back to the race. But, he really bites off more than he can chew with “A Day in the Life” First, the song is a set piece, conceived as a recording–certainly not as a solo performance piece. Add having to cut this complicated song down to 1:30… Yeah. It was kind of a disaster. The disjointed arrangement is terrible. The best part of the song was the middle, “Woke up, fell out of bed…dragged a comb across my head.” Once he cut back to Lennon’s part again, he really loses it. The last bit is horrible, with Michael bungling the words. Yikes. Micheal faces the judges. He knows he messed up. Randy says, “…It wasn’t one of your best performances, I still don’t think you’ve chosen the right song.” Paula hints that he sounded better in dress rehearsal, and then reveals that all the kids are wearing ear monitors. She blames the monitors. Simon says, “It was a mess…you didn’t hit the right notes…the song went all over the place…you have got to start sorting yourself out.” Afterward, Michael admits that he actually isn’t wearing ear monitors. Busted! “Well then, guess what Micheal, ” says Paula, “now there’s no excuse…you are a phenomenal performer, you’ve got to raise the game.” It turns out, Michael chose the song because it was the favorite song of a friend who passed away last year. That should get him a few pity votes.
Things are getting really weird tonight.
Brooke White gets stool time. She got to visit her family in Van Nuys this weekend. In honor of her song, she’s dressed in yellow. She looks like a giant daffodil.
Brooke White – …Here Comes the Sun – Finally, a nod to the great George Harrison, who wrote this song. On paper, this sunny, optimistic tune is the perfect song for Brooke. She starts the song sitting down, but once she gets up, she starts dancing around and it’s a little awkward. She looks goofy. It’s distracting. So is bandzilla, who drown her out. She would have fared better sitting down with the guitar for this one. Randy says, “That performance was really awkward for me…you never were really connected to that song for me.” Paula says, “…You can’t help smile when watching you…what it did show is that you have really good low tone to your voice…those notes showed a different side to you…I think it could have been a little more challenging…but you are a lovable girl.” Simon says, “I thought the performance was terrible…” “Ok, ” says Brooke, looking hurt. Simon has loved her every single week, it must be a shock to finally get slammed. “From the horrible dancing, to the…” Brooke begins to talk over Simon, “It’s ok…it’s ok…” Simon tries to continue, “…to the absolute lack of conviction…” But Brooke is still babbling on top of him. Simon says, “It was wet, it was forgettable…” Brooke is practically demanding, “That’s ok…LISTEN! you guys have been really nice to me, so it’s ok…” Simon is a little exasperated that his message isn’t getting through, “But Brooke, you know, that’s what it’s all about, song choice. There is a vast choice between “Let it Be” and “Here Comes the Sun.” With Ryan, center stage, she says, about the song, “This is not what I do.” I guess she’s referring to the dancing and what not. “Next week, I’m going back to what I do best.” And it’s back in her box, for Brooke!
Geez, what’s with the teenyboppers in the mosh pit?
David Cook – …Day Tripper – David makes the point to name check Whitesnake in his video package. Take THAT LA Times! His memorable moment came last week when Simon said he could possibly win the whole competition. Enjoy that while you can, David. Personally, I prefer David’s performance this week. “Day Tripper” lends itself well to an edgier rock treatment. Other than the Frampton-style vox-box in the middle which was a tad corny, David totally kicked it this week. He’s really shaping up to be one of the better performers out of this bunch. He’s going to rule on the tour. Randy says, “I love seeing you every week, it’s another solid for David Cook.” Paula says, “There isn’t much else anyone can say…you are ready to sell records…Geico commercials are next.” WTF? Simon says, “David I don’t think that was as good as you thought…you looked smug throughout…the middle was stupid…you’ve lost your element of surprise.” Simon’s props were nice while they lasted, weren’t they David? Simon is irritating in his complete inability to get rock music. However, David wisely chooses not to argue with Simon.
Carly Smithson – …Blackbird – Carly tarts up the simple, and beautiful “Blackbird” with great big, giant, glory notes. This is the “Pops” version of “Blackbird”. I prefer the simple acoustic version, thank you very much. At one point, she drops a lyric and sounds a bit strained on the those big notes. She’s trying too hard. Randy says, “Another great performance…very nice…very cool.” Paula says, “You have an amazing tone to your voice…the inflections that you do throughout the song, the choices that you make…I thought the arrangement was beautiful…” Simon doesn’t like it, “Beatles song, week 2, and you choose a song about a blackbird.” Simon, do you have to be so literal? Gah, he can be such an idiot. “I don’t think that was a very smart thing to do…I thought the song was indulgent…I didn’t like the song at all.” Then Carly explains what the song means to her. She starts whining about how hard the music business is, and how it beats her down, and she feels like a “blackbird with broken wings learning to fly.” The explanation cheeses Simon off. Not to mention, the whining as a potential voter turnoff. Paula keeps repeating, “You are a gift…you are a gift…, ” while Simon looks annoyed. OMG, she’s tattooed a “7” on her finger…
Jason Castro – …Michelle – Per his vid, Jason’s most memorable moment was performing “Hallelujah”. He mentions that the last note of the song was “bad”. I think the shaky note worked in the context of his song. “Michelle” is yet another sappy McCartney tune. Jason looks almost embarrassed singing it. I can actually feel him moving in and out of the song. He’s not always connected. However, Jason’s phrasing is so cool, his manner so charming and easy, it almost doesn’t matter in the end. Almost. Randy says, “…very subdued by you this time…I don’t know if I really really got it…I didn’t feel you were really connected to the song.” Jason alludes to the short song notice, saying that the week came up really fast. He doesn’t seem to be feeling it, either. Paula says, “…you have a very distinct charm about you that’s why all these girls are falling in love with you…I feel you get a little disconnected when you are away from your guitar…it was a little awkward for me.” Paula compares it to a polka. She has a point, Jason seems a little lost standing on stage without his guitar. Simon says, “This was a very weird show tonight…I’m not sure it was such a good idea doing Beatles again, because we had such a great memory from last week.” Ya think, Simon? “Where you’re lucky, is that this is a TV show, and not a radio show, because your face sold that…you are very charming…the goofiness makes it work.”
Stool chat: Syesha’s parent’s are here.
Syesha Mercado – …Yesterday – Syesha’s most memorable moment, “Top 12, 2008, Syesha Mercado is in the Bottom 3.” OMG she’s talking about herself in the third person, like she’s having an out of body experience. She’s convinced her time in the bottom gave her the “kick in the butt” she needed. Getting a performance position near the end of the show doesn’t hurt, either. Nor does the cleavage-baring dress she’s wearing tonight. Ryan introduces Syesha with this story: Paul McCartney woke up one morning with this song in his head and called it “Scrambled Eggs.” Most Beatles fans have heard that one already. Vocally, Syesha has control problems. Her normal singing voice is breathy and weak, and when she belts, she’s shreiky. What saves her here, is that she seems to connect to the emotion of the song. Randy says, “Very very very good performance tonight.” Paula says, “It’s great to see how you change and how you let yourself be vulnerable. That vulnerability is where you need to be….you’ve got a beautiful instrument.” Simon says, “I thought that was probably your best performance so far…it wasn’t incredible, but you chose the best song…you chose the song Brooke should have sung…I thought you sold the song very very well…that performance should keep you in this competition.”
Ryan is on stage with an old guy claiming that even super-fans such as Mr. Grandfatherly dude can download Idol performances from iTunes. Then Ryan pushes him off the stage. Just kidding.
Chikezie – …Ive Just Seen A Face – Fun fact from his vid: John Lennon is Chikezie’s favorite Beatle. However, tonight, he’s chosen a song by Paul McCartney. And happily, it’s one of the non-sappy variety. In fact, this is one of my fav Beatles tunes. Chikezie thought it would be a really good idea to pick an instrument he’s never played before in his life and play it on the big stage. OK! He starts off all slow and ballady. Ugh. It’s the Waving Arms of Annoyance from the “mosh pit” again. Bleah. This is like a dirge. But then the song takes off in a completely different direction. He starts playing the harmonica. Badly. The song inexplicably turns into a hootenanny. Weird. Actually, sans the harp, I like the second part better. But the arrangement as a whole isn’t working for me. I think that’s Austin Clark on the dobro… Randy says, “…It sounded like it could be a good country song…the slow part I didn’t quite get…” Paula says, “…the depth and the scope of your vocals…in a 1:30 seconds I get the whole scope of who you are…” Simon says, “I thought it started off ok, then you played the harmonica…which was literally atrocious, then it turns into ‘Achy Breaky Heart’. In the end…it was gimmicky.” Chikezie does not manage to capture lightning in a bottle two weeks in a row. But I’m thinking that last week’s break-out performance is enough to get him on the tour.
Ryan mentions the songwriting contest. Some lucky contestant is going to get to sing the craptastic prize winning song. Awesome.
Ramiele Malubay – …I Should Have Known Better – In her vid, Ramiele talks about how attached she is to the cast. No kidding. Ramiele gets the pimp spot tonight. I’m trying to imagine an incredibly awesome, dramatic performance of “I Should Have Known Better” and my mind is going blank. She begins. Holy crap–this sucks. It’s really bad. Ramiele warbles around the notes, with this incredibly cheesy harmonica in the background. This is such a horrible song choice for her. If she had gone first, she’d be in danger. But, she gets the pimp spot. It’s as if the producers are purposely saving her for the tour. Randy and Paula think her performance is better than last week. No effing way. Her “In My Life” was a little boring, but it was pretty and in-tune. This is just a mess–like the worst cruise ship performance ever. Randy says, “I wasn’t jumping up and down, but I liked it. What I loved about this performance for you is you showed that confidence that I know is in there…you did your thing.” WTF!!!???! Paula says, “Definitely better than last week…but I like when you sing ballads.” Simon says, “It sounded like Chickezie was on harmonica. I like you a lot…the track sounded terrible, it sounded very amateurish the whole thing.” Lucky Ramiele will be saved by the Pinoys and the Pimp spot…