It’s 10 p.m. and I’m just starting to watch this episode of “American Idol.” The Preds game was totally worth it. And Scott and Buddy (on some sort of painkiller he simply described as “blue”) were hilariously good company. Even if Buddy couldn’t see and I had to explain my limited knowledge of hockey to them both.
OK, let’s go. Ryan is sporting gray slacks (icky word!) and a black shirt. And in case you didn’t know, “THISSSS ISS AMERICAN IDOL!” He seems a little low-key on that announcement tonight. Maybe he read my post last week.
He intros the show and the finalists who’ve already been chosen who look uncomfortable and awkward. Then he intros the judges, which really, do we have to do this every week? Now Ryan is telling us the rules. Again. I’m tired of having these stupid things repeated to me.
Here we go. Von Smith. And no commercial! Von Smith is from Missouri. I’d forgotten that. He interviews about his tendency to scream rather than sing. He’s singing “You’re All I Need to Get By” by Marvin Gaye. I am way unsure about this. Beginning is pitchy and a weird range for him to sing. Then he gets to the shouty chorus and does weird dance moves. It’s not terrible bad and definitely got better as he sang, but I really hate watching his face as he sings. But the kid does have pipes, I’ll give him that. Randy says it was hot; Kara says he was more comfortable and better; Paula blathers about his firstness and showmanship; Simon says he reminds him of Clay Aiken and disses his outfit but does say he can sing. I’m not sure how to take that—and neither is Von.
Next up, Taylor, who is apparently in high school. I don’t remember her. Oh, now I remember! I hated her hair when she tried out! Bangs are a good look for her. She’s doing “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keyes. She’s wearing a quirkily cute dress and shiny vinyl tights or leggings. The arrangement seems a little too low in the verses. And boring. But she kills the chorus. She’s definitely got a bigger voice than most 17-year-olds. Kara says she has a voice and talent, but needs to let her personality shine through; Paula says something about her “instrument” and disses her for performing a song she’d already performed earlier; Simon picks on Kara then says she’s kind of bland and forgettable; Randy almost gets cut off by the music, but says she was boring. I thought she was good, but I get what they’re saying. It’s like Carly Smithson from last year: I just don’t buy that she means what’s she’s singing.
And commercial, again. Yay!
And we’re back. Alex Wagner-Trugman is getting ready to sing and Vanna Whites with a Coca-Cola cup. It’s dorky. Then Alex talks about his dorkiness and going to the gym. He’s doing “That’s Why They Call It the Blues” by Elton John because he’s in a long-distance relationship. Performing Elton usually comes back to bite you in the butt. Unless you’re Ben Folds and you’re doing “Tiny Dancer.” This performance is kind of boring and he spends way too much of my time putting slides and raspy growls in the song. And he’s 19. He doesn’t have the life experience to sing this song and sell it. He’s screechy and it’s like karaoke that time the drunk guy sang “Mountain Music.” (Remember, Mindy?) Paula calls Alex a showman and can only say he’s entertaining; Simon says he was fun to watch but not to listen to (and comments on the growling); Randy says he thinks it was crazy and the vocals were screamy; Kara says he was true to himself.
Ryan acts stupid and then we get another commercial. Geeze.
Arianna Afsar is up next. She’s young and cute and singing Abba, which is apparently an Idol first. It’s “The Winner Takes It All.” Do I know this song? So far, no. And the it’s kind of boring and has no identifiable melody and seems to jump around from low notes to high notes. And it’s really boring. She picked the wrong song. But I am sort of coveting her dress. Simon says it was terrible (it wasn’t quite terrible but it wasn’t good); Randy says it was a bad song choice; Kara says she picked a depressing song that didn’t fit her personality; Paula says there were good and bad moments and advises her to stick to the melody. I hate to say it, but you speak truth, Paula, you speak truth.
After a commercial break, featuring promos for the Julia Roberts/Clive Owen movie we should all go see together (maybe we could arrange it in different cities at the same time?), Ju’not Joiner is ready to sing. He’s singing “Hey There Delilah.” (As a side note, I think judging from the earlier video, Paula is now parting her hair and wearing bangs on the OTHER side of her face. Strange.) Ju’not sings a stripped down version of the Plain White T’s love anthem. He kind of makes it into this private moment love song anthem. Points for making the song entirely his own and not relying on the version we all recognize, because let’s face it, that song was EVERYWHERE. Randy butchers his name and compliments him for making the song his own; Kara says it was smooth; Paula compliments him for singing the same song as Hollywood Week and doing it better/different than before; Simon says it was better than he thought it would be and a little safe. Oh, Simon, I so agree. There’s talk about a cortizone shot and Simon declares it all TMI.
Muffin’s dead out asleep. And miles to go before I sleep. Because it’s time for another commercial break!
Kristin and Nathaniel interview about the drama in their group during Hollywood Week. Do we really have to talk about this again? Kristin and Nathaniel act stupid. Kristin is up first, she’s 23 and I wonder if we’re ever going to discuss the fact that she was on “Nashville Star.” She’s singing “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman which I submit is a song only Tracy should sing. She’s got pipes, Kristin does, but she there’s so much she could do with the ends of phrases in this song, and she picks the safest routes. Sometimes, it’s like she’s singing the harmony part instead of the melody. Which is all kinds of weird. Kara says she’s a great singer but was confused by the song choice; Paula says the song was safe; Simon says he can’t figure out who she is with the weird song choice and outfit; Randy agrees and says she tried to do too much with the vocals on a simple melody.
Nathaniel is next. He’s 19 and drama in a pair of emo jeans. He’s singing Meatloaf. Oh, crap. “Anything For Love.” Seriously. And his hair is like Boy George crossed with flock of seagulls. The song starts slow and then he makes it into a disco anthem. It’s really weird. Simon is so going to hate his outfit. He just needs clothes that fit! He can sing, but I just don’t know what to think about this performance, with all the stops and starts and slow and fast. It’s. just. too. much. Simon says he thinks Nathaniel would do anything for love and the performance was almost excruciating but memorable; Randy says it was a weird song choice but really hard to figure out what kind of album he would make; Kara says he can sing, but it’s hard to take him seriously; Paula says she loves him and mentions Boy George (oh, crap, Paula and I are thinking the same things!).
Felicia Barton is up next. She’s a stay-at-home mom who got cut during Hollywood Week and got called back into the competition when they had to cut another girl. She’s doing “No One” by Alicia Keyes. Her hair looks kind of like a shiny cap and her vocals are good, except for a little pitchiness in the chorus. I can’t put it into words, but there’s something weird about her voice and the way she’s singing and phrasing this song. I feel like she’s straining her vocal chords and overusing vibrato. Paula says she’s talented; Simon says the first part was better than the second; Randy says she has an amazing voice; Kara says it was a good look but that she was memorable tonight.
Scott MacIntyre is up next. He is the guy who is blind. He’s really talented and a wonderful piano player, which he won’t get to play. He’s singing “Mandolin Rain” by Bruce Hornsby. I’ve always liked this song, though I can’t explain why. I sing along with it if I ever happen to hear it on the radio. There are some vocal issues, I won’t lie. But I do like this guy and he has a nice, pure quality to his voice. He just sings. He’s not acting a part or trying to capture our attention with gimmics, growls, and runs. He’s just singing a song he loves with passion. I applaud him for that. Randy says it wasn’t a perfect vocal but had great moments; Kara says he’s passionate and doens’t make excuses (now Kara and I are thinking the same things!); Paula says he has blessed us all with his gift; Simon says he wasn’t crazy about the song but admits Scott is growing on him, then goes on to predict he’ll make it to the next round.
Commercials, including one for Build-A-Bear. Is it wrong for a 30-year-old woman to want to go to there?
Kendall Beard is up next. Boring video package. She’s singing “This One’s for the Girls” by Martina McBride. I wonder if my friend Buddy is hyperventilating? She’s got a good voice, but it has a weird quality that’s not quite pleasing to me. It’s hard to sing Martina, because she’s just so good—effortless and flawless. Kendell is good, but she’s no Martina. Kara says the vocals weren’t great but she has a great personality; Paula compliments her outfit and says she did a good job; Simon says she was true to herself but it was kind of shrilly (I agree, Simon); Randy says song choice was good, outfit, too, but she was nervous and it showed.
Jorge Nunez is up first. He is Puerto Rican and was called down for having a enunciation probs when singing in English. He’s singing Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down.” Oddly, I enjoy this performance, which is not really something I expected. He’s pretty good in the beginning, but there are a few weird sounding words (probably because he’s not singing in his native language), but it’s not bad. I’m not sure it’s memorable enough to keep him in, but it wasn’t awful. Paula is standing up clapping and says he sounded so good; Simon says it may have been wrong to encourage him to erase his accent; Randy says it was really good but not perfect; Kara says he was born to sing.
And finally, it’s Lil Rounds, the darling of Memphis. Frankly, she’s kind of gotten on my nerves in the previous times I’ve heard her sing. She’s doing Mary J. Blige “Be Without You.” She looks great and owns the stage. The verses are kind of wordy and she does some weird head-turning, pausing stuff that distracts me, but girl can sing and she has the crowd eating out of her hands. Definitely the most memorable performer of the night. Simon says it was brilliant (agreed!); Randy compliments her on not losing her swagger (?); Kara calls her a powerhouse; Paula says she’s first-class.
My picks: Lil Rounds, for sure. Scott MacIntyre is also probably a sure thing.
The third? I haven’t a clue. Von, maybe? Ju’Not? I really liked him. Kristen McNamara also might make it. I just really don’t know what’s going to happen.
The top 36 really proved to be fairly mediocre, I’m thinking.