Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The prophetic powers of Steven Tyler...

OH. MY. GOD. HOW GREAT WAS THAT FINALE???!!! JAMES VS. HALEY - the ultimate American Idol battle! I was on the edge of my seat the entire show! My fingers could NOT stop dialing afterwards!....

oh shit...wait...that was the finale I've been dreaming about all season...damn!!!

Scotty vs. Lauren. 17-year old country boy with the old soul vs. 16-year old pageant queen. Wake me up when it's over...ok, it wasn't that bad,  but this has to go down as one of the least-exciting finales in history. Am I right?

So now, I am going to try to keep this short and sweet. Or short and bitter.

Last night, we saw the producers of American Idol (shame on you, Nigel Lythgoe) try to turn American Idol into a scripted reality show.

All season, we've watched Lauren battle her nerves, search for confidence, cry for her mommy, and wear a series of 1980's pagent outfits that only a thrift shop could love. But last night: parading a doctor in scrubs onto the stage, telling us Lauren would STILL be able to sing, even with the threat of shots to save her strained vocal was the last straw. Was this a desperate attempt by the producers to drum up sympathy for Lauren? YES. Are the producers dying for a girl to win this year? YES. Did we all watch this show and think, good god, this is so one-sided, I could make myself vomit? YES.

Steven Tyler prophesied during audition rounds that they had found the winner in Lauren Alaina. Against my own wishes, better judgment, and multiple phone calls from both land and cell phone lines for Scotty, I think Lauren will wear the crown tonight.

How did this happen?

Check Yes or No?
SCOTTY - opening with "Gone" - I can understand your choice, you wanted to be upbeat, you wanted to kick some country ass. The problem is, George Strait picked a complete dud for you in "Check Yes or No" immediately after this performance. So any momentum you wiped out by this melody-less, boring song.  How about "Cross My Heart" - something sweet, with a memorable melody? And to top it off, the producers (and Jimmy) stuck you with "I Love You This Big" - which would probably be a hit on Sesame Street, with ELMO on lead vocals. To your credit, Scotty, you made the most of a lame song. But you weren't given a fair shot tonight.

The Chosen One?
LAUREN - sigh. I don't even feel like writing this. I loved you at the beginning of the season because you were sassy and confident during auditions. And we never saw that girl again! Every week, I rooted for you...until I stopped rooting for you. And here we are, you are about to win American Idol. Your performance of "Flat on the Floor" left me lifeless and bored on the floor...very similar to the first time you sang this song. "Maybe it was Memphis" is a great song - if you can belt it like Carrie Underwood (who chose the song for you). But again, you held back (maybe those strained vocal cords? Puh-leese). But I'll admit, your last song had me thinking that if my Mom wasn't so blinded by love for Scotty, she probably would have LOVED that performance. "Like My Mother Does"...? Are we a nation of suckers? YES. It was a star-making performance for a young girl with lots of potential. The producers did you right by choosing it for you. Although singing to your mama in the audience was a bit much for me. Either way, I give you credit, that last song was made for you.

I think Lauren will win. I'm really hoping a miracle will happen and Scotty will still come out on top, but I'm not betting on it. Overall, this was a somewhat deflated end to the season. I think Scotty is a country superstar already. I know the entire state of North Carolina is holding its breath for the results tonight. But the victory will likely go to Lauren. Our sweet Georgia Peach who has lots of growing to do.

What did YOU hear last night?!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

If you like it then you should have put a ring (tone) on it.

It's the final 3!

I learned a lot from watching tonight's episode of American Idol:

1) Jimmy Iovine is the smartest man in the room.
2) Priscilla Presley has had ONE too many facelifts - good god, did you see her in the audience?!
3) Beyonce is clearly going through a 'Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome' phase...what was up with that video?!
4) My mom's going to be disappointed, but I didn't pick up on any 'the-judges-are-out-to-get-Haley' conspiracies here.  As usual, the judges split all three rounds evenly, so if we didn't call for our favorite, we can't bitch about it. According to our "esteemed panel", Round 1 went to Haley, 2 went to Scotty, and 3 went to Lauren. I'm sure that was intentional.

We saw each contestant sing a song of their choice, a Jimmy Iovine choice, and a pick from the judges. Every year, the judges let us down with their picks (Kenny Rogers? Seriously?). Jimmy proved to know more about our contestants than those three glittery knuckleheads put together, so thank goodness for him. And above all else, Haley proved she is one. smart. chick.

Here we go!

We're proud of you, son
SCOTTY - Scotty, you're so money, you don't even know how money you are. You chose "Amazed" by Lonestar for your song, and I've got to give props to our sweet, innocent, baseball-playing, grocery-checking Southern boy.  You seem to inhabit every song you sing. Jimmy's pick, "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" was perfection for you - youthful, soulful, relevant, relatable. One of my favorite performances of the night. And lastly, "She Believes in Me" by Kenny Rogers. Come ON, judges. Even though Kenny Rogers was my first childhood crush, this song came across as completely irrelevant, dated, and frankly, not the best range for our boy, Scotty. But you know what? I think you're going to cruise to the Final.  You've been sweet, charming, and talented through this entire competition. You'll be rewarded for that.

Barbie goes to the Prom. And it's 1983.

LAUREN - I can see why you chose Faith Hill's "Wild One" for your first song, since you are the "woman-child in a state of grace" of this competition. As usual, you clipped the big notes right off and lacked the emotional depth we get from Scotty and Haley, but you were adorable, right down to the big daisies hanging off your ears. Jimmy's choice of "If I Die Young" was, once again, a genius choice. The Band Perry is riding high on this song right now, and you capitalized on its popularity. This song was so perfectly suited to your voice, and Jimmy is no dummy. And the judges clearly wanted you to have your big moment with "I Hope You Dance" - and if you had a moment this season, I guess I'll have to give it to you with this one. Even if you looked Miss Tennessee competing in the Miss American pageant circa 1983. I fear I'm going to lose my girl Haley to you in the Finals, because those teenage girls out there love your insecurity and non-threatening nature.

Haley gets the Led out.
HALEY - Led Zeppelin's "What Is and What Should Never Be" was one of my favorite moments of the season. Girl, this was a smart choice and I give you full credit for this one. You had Daddy rockin' on the guitar, you belted out one of the most bad-ass songs ever by THE most bad-ass rock band ever. AND you landed on your ass. But it's all good. You are the complete package - hot vocals, charisma, pure talent. (Can I gush any more?!). I thought Jimmy's pick of "Rhiannon" for you was subdued, ethereal, and beautiful. I'm not sure if you needed the wind machine, but I'm sure Stevie Nicks thought that was pretty cool. Like Stevie says, you 'take to the sky like a bird in flight.' That's you, Haley, and I love it. The verses of the judges' pick, "You Oughta Know" were so fast, so silly, so beneath you...(I wish we could just ban all of Alanis Morrisette's songs from this show forever because they SUCK...but I digress). There was no way anyone was going to KILL this song, but you did crush the chorus, and that's all we can ask. I understand - the judges chose this song for you because of the choruses, they wanted to hear your angry, raspy growl at full throttle, but can't we find a better song to showcase that? Either way, you won Rounds 1 and 2 for me. And if you don't make it to the Final, I'm not sure I'll be all that interested to watch.

Who's going home: LAUREN (pleeeeeeeeease!!!!)
Who's in the Finals: Scotty and Haley (pleeeeeeeeease!!!!)

What did YOU hear last night?!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Gaga brings the Drama...

What a night on American Idol! (So much to say, so little time. And I'm way late on posting this, too).

I happened to love last night's show - our Top 4 sang a heartfelt song of their choosing, as well as a song from the Leiber and Stoller Songbook. (Who?!) The result: highs, lows, cranky judges and rally cries for our favorites. And we also got GAGA. I wanted more GAGA. You can never have enough GAGA.

So here we go!

Are we being set up by American Idol?
JAMES - has anyone else noticed, you get the pyrotechnics to back up your songs, you get gigantic podiums onstage so you can tower over the audience...while the other contestants get the occasional back-up Gospel choir. The AI Producer Love seems to be directed 100% at you these days. With "Don't Stop Believin'", you didn't re-invent the wheel, but it was a solid, entertaining performance that we've come to expect from our Resident Rocker. At least with "Love Potion No.", we got to see Gaga do a little groping, in attempts to loosen you up a little in the middle. To paraphrase you, "Gaga wanted it, so I gave it to her." You sure did, Dog.

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Randy Jackson
HALEY - you've come so far from the Hot Mess with Lipstick on Her Teeth. Remember those days? True, your choice of "Earth Song", even if you love it, was probably ill-advised. I'm not really into those preachy, pleading save-the-world songs (that's more Jacob's territory), so this one fell flat for me. But still, Randy was a bit harsh. (Does anyone remember when Michael Jackson featured this song during his "This Is It" movie? It showed a beautiful child running through fields of flowers that slowly disintegrated around her, as she was chased by CYBORGS FROM HELL, as a metaphor for the imminent destruction of the planet? Not a good vibe. But I digress.) The good thing for you, Haley, is when you're attacked by the judges, I do think America will rally for you. We've grown to love our quirky, peace-signing Haley Reinhart. Plus, your performance of "I (Who Have Nothing)" was straight-up THE REAL DEAL. Loved it. You threw down the gauntlet with that last performance, stared down the camera, pissed off. Get angry, girl. And proceed directly to The Top Three.

I'm just a singer of simple a Howdy Doody outfit
SCOTTY - you are simply Un-American if you don't appreciate "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)". If something good and beautiful came out of the aftermath of 9/11, it is this Alan Jackson song, (plus Bruce Springsteen's entire "The Rising" album). You sang this song as if you'd written it. We all love a good story, and you are the grocery-store-clerk-done-good. With that said, "Young Blood" was frivolous, and more of a throwaway performance. Since we are doing the Leiber and Stoller songbook, I'm going to use a 60s term - you were a total SQUARE. And you dressed like Howdy Doody, to top it off. But you know what? It was worth it to see you interact with Gaga. To see Gaga in her black leather catsuit with her butt cheeks hanging out, bantering back and forth with our god-fearing, cross-wearing boy from the South...PRICELESS. Selfishly, I want you in the Top Three. Because that means American Idol will come to Garner, NC. Which happens to be next-door to Raleigh. So that means that next week - I can post REAL pictures of you on my blog! Because you KNOW I'm showing up to see you!

Fashion Suicide
LAUREN - at least you got off the launch pad this week. You didn't exactly reach the stars with Martina McBride's "Anyway", but at least you got into orbit this time. But enough with the space metaphors. Can we talk about your DRESS? Short in the front, long in the back. For the second time this season. You were wearing a FASHION MULLET!!! NO!!!!! Your second performance of "Trouble" by Elvis was full of trouble for me. With Gaga's help, your ability to embrace your inner Bad Girl at least allowed you to swallow your fear and belt out the song. But all I kept thinking was...someone like Haley would have CRUSHED this song. And again, your fashion choices were so distracting for me. This time you looked like a glittery "Real Housewife from Smyrna, Georgia". I hate to say it, but I think your run is over on this show, IF there is any justice in the world. The problem is, I'm pretty sure there's a massive teenage-girl voting bloc that ADORES you. So we'll see what happens tonight.


What did YOU hear last night?!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Best performance of the season? YES!

Last night, our Top 5 sang a throwback song, as well as one of their current favorites.  Oh, the drama - to watch some of our Idols flounder on the first song, only to come roaring back with the second! Randy could barely sit still, with all this excitement!

Here's my rundown, from Worst to First!

JACOB - is it possible for you to sound awful? Yes. "No Air" was pitchy, strained, and pathetic. Who knew you were capable of such...mediocrity? Seriously...HATED IT. As for your performance of "Love Hurts", I'm pretty sure your body was overtaken by aliens as you screamed and whinced in pure, unadulterated, it's-me-against-the-world AGONY. I'm sorry, but I just can't take it anymore. In fact, it occurs to me that we've figured out your genre: it's not gospel, R&B, soul, whatever J Lo is trying to sell you on...your genre is Pain and Anguish. ENOUGH!!!!

LAUREN - I know at least one follower of this blog who will be relieved to hear me say: Lauren, I'm sorry, but I'm breaking up with you.  Your version of Carrie Underwood's "Flat on the Floor" left me flat and bored. Your idea of projecting power and confidence was to scream to a song that just...isn't very good. The violin player next to you was more entertaining to watch. As for "Unchained Melody", I was so disappointed, I was almost angry at you. You backed off the big notes, when you should have crushed this song with your vocal prowess. Your fear was showing again. At this point, the fact that you are STILL holding back means that you just don't get it. You are sweet and looked so much like Malibu Barbie during your second performance, it kinda freaked me out. But I'm just disappointed. People love "Unchained Melody", and yours was just...bound and gagged.

JAMES - you were a study in Extremes tonight. Your performance of "Closer to the Edge" was probably my least-favorite of yours this season. Screamy, pyrotechnic-ridden antics onstage, I just wasn't feelin' it, dog. (What's with all the screaming tonight from all our contestants, anyway?). You then gave us "Without You" by Harry Nilsson and while it was very disarming and vulnerable, complete with an honest tear squeezed out at the very end, it doesn't excuse or hide the fact that it was just often out. of. tune. As the camera scanned the audience after this performance, and showed all those young girls with tears in their eyes and empathy on their faces, we know you're safe. But this was just not my favorite night for you.

SCOTTY -  to quote from your Montgomery Gentry song, "Gone", you are gone like a freight train...straight to the Top 3. Gone like a soldier in the civil war. Bang Bang. (Sorry, I can't help myself. Some of these country music lyrics are priceless). You moved all around the stage and owned it on this one, so much that you were out of breath at the end. As Michael said, "I'm calling for his ass tonight!". You then gave us "Always on My Mind" and again, your ability to connect, tell a story, come across as earnest, sweet, all works. Nashville is waiting for you with open arms.

HALEY - you got a big of a raw deal on your first song, "You and I" by The Gaga. I understand what Jimmy was doing when he directed you to choose this song - he wants to showcase the artist you'll be after this show, show what you are capable of doing. If the judges had bothered to listen, rather than just criticize you for choosing an unknown melody, they would have heard that you sang the ass of this song. It was great for you. It showed off your pipes. I thought you were great. But "House of the Rising Sun" was the highlight OF THE SEASON for me. You are like a budding, female Jim Morrison, all sexiness and hot vocals. When you were finished, I promptly picked up the phone for the first time this season, dialed your number, and hit redial 20 more times. It's official: I love you. And I'd love it if you could steal this competition away from the boys.

My top three: HALEY, SCOTTY, JAMES
Who needs to go: JACOB or LAUREN, at this point, doesn't matter what order they go in, as long as they go!

What did YOU hear last night?!