Tuesday, February 26, 2008

That Archuleta-Clarkson tape--It's like that Clinton-Kennedy film

Just a warning as I begin: I'm typing this blog entry while playing back my recording of tonight's Democratic debate. If the last hour is anything like the first half-hour, which consisted of a mind-numbing 15-minute discussion of health care mandates, I may pass out on my keyboard. (I know candidates need to and should put out a plan, but arguing over these details seems kind of absurd when a president would have to put any health care plan through Congress--who will likely try to make all kinds of changes.)

So Ryan started out the show by calling Simon the "king of all media"--the usurping of his nickname might make Howard Stern's show tomorrow morning--and ended it by once again failing to thank Simon like he did with everyone else, which wasn't all that funny the second time he did it last week. In between, at least he never used the "most talented top 24 ever" line, perhaps because they're now down to 20, or perhaps because media watchdog groups complained that they were committing fraud. Tonight's performances, on the whole, were probably slightly better than last week's, but still not exactly history-making.

Michael Johns (Go Your Own Way)--I like the idea of doing this song, but wasn't all that crazy about the execution. Michael's voice is lower than Lindsay Buckingham's, so I was curious how it would sound. And it was solid, but he didn't do anything special with the song at all. As Randy said, I was hoping he'd just "let go," and he didn't. I want to see these guys just "throw down," as the kids say, and too many singers, particularly in the first half of tonight's show, weren't doing that.

Jason Castro (I Just Want to Be Your Everything)--Jason said he's "not good at talking." I'm not even sure what to say about that, except that I read Jason was the lead actor on some MTV show named "Cheyenne." Yes, the show was quickly canceled, but how do you get a job acting on a TV show if you're not good at talking? As for singing, I think he's OK. I didn't think this was as bad as the judges said it was, and thought it was pretty similar to his performance last week--which I didn't think was as good as the judges thought it was.

Luke Menard (Killer Queen)--At the beginning of this song, I said to myself, "Cool, he's doing Queen." I wasn't all that excited by the end of the song. In fact, well before Simon mentioned charisma and personality, I wrote on my notepad, "Negative charisma." He sucked the life out of that song, and, as Randy said, had some pitch problems as well. And his rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the taped piece sort of sucked too, especially compared to Michael Johns a couple weeks ago.

Robbie Carrico (Hot Blooded)--Another example of a lack of charisma, as well as a failure to really "let it go" and do something exciting. No wonder Hot Britney dumped him. This wasn't bad, but just kind of boring.

Danny Noriega (Superstar)-- I wrote last week that I didn't really think I'd like Danny, but that I found his crazy dancing, etc. sort of compelling. So watching him sing a slow song like this didn't do it for me--because, despite what Paula says, I don't think his voice is all that impressive and he wasn't doing any crazy dancing. The judges's interaction with him was funny, though. I think I'm going to start using "Ish" in conversation.

David Hernandez (Papa Was A Rolling Stone)--Finally, a guy who actually sung like he really wanted to win. Simon's praise that he was "the best vocal of the night" was pretty faint praise at this point in the show, but it was accurate. Having said all that, though, I can't really see this guy having any chance of winning and I can't explain why. But maybe he'll try to prove me wrong.

Jason Yeager (Long Train Runnin')--It was a lot better than last week. It still wasn't that good. Jason said that he's "all about the heart and soul of the song." Don't think I got that from him the past two weeks. Maybe he should sing that piano duet song, "Heart and Soul."

Chikeze (I Believe in My Soul)-- It was nice that Chikeze told us the origin of his name. Maybe next week he can tell us where his last name went. Anyway, I was apparently the only person who didn't think Chikeze was terrible last week, so I was happy to see him do well tonight. He sang a song that Elliott Yamin rocked a couple years ago, and Chikeze made sure we'd remember his version too. Once again, someone who actually said, "Hey, I'm going to go all out" and it paid off.

David Cook (All Right Now)--I like this guy's voice--it's distinctive and fits well with a rock sound. I don't like that creepy wink he's often giving to the camera. And he's really got to do something about that awful hairstyle. Oh, and that silly response to Simon wasn't necessary. As for his performance, it was OK but didn't wow me. It was much better, as far as rock goes, than Robbie Carrico, though.

David Archuleta (Imagine)--Other people have sung this song on this show (Ruben in the second season finale, Jennifer Hudson in the semifinals in season 3), and I've alway thought it was a bad choice for Idol because, as noble as the song's sentiments are, the music never really goes anywhere. That's why I was really impressed with David tonight, because he took the song and made it go somewhere new by adding some vocal flourishes--but didn't overdo it. It didn't bring me to tears like it apparently did to Paula (did you see that tear that had run down her face?), but maybe next week.

Two other important things about Archuleta. First, watching the reaction of all those young girls tonight to when they announced he was up next--let alone after his song--might be a sign that this competition is already over. If he's in the final two before May, I'd be shocked.

But what I really want to talk about is this video of David Archuleta singing the song from Dreamgirls in front of Kelly Clarkson when he was 11. All I could think of was that this was the American Idol equivalent of that film of Bill Clinton meeting John Kennedy at the White House when Clinton was 16 that got shown constantly during the 1992 campaign. I'm so fascinated by this I won't be able to sleep tonight.

Who's going home? The other two guys that got no screen time until last week. Neither of them did anything memorable tonight, just like neither did anything memorable last week, so I think Jason Yeager and Luke Menard are out of here.

Fingerhut out.

Labels:

16 Comments:

Anonymous john said...

Excellent blog.

The main thing I take from the Archuleta-Clarkson clip is, other than how weird it is that an 11 year-old would sing that song to strangers in a lobby, is that Kelly Clarkson seemed very nice.

Michael Johns: good but not his best as everyone said. I still voted for him though.

Jason Castro: that clip was lame. Simon ragged on David Cook for the crossword thing but not on this waster being unable to talk? I always liked Andy Gibb's version of that song but he was lackluster.

Luke Menard: it was wrong on a lot of levels. Also, it's this campy fun song and he just wasn't fun at all. And after watching the a capella group footage I though, "Oh, I get it. He needs six other guys to do a song with him." It made sense after that.

Robbie: eh, he was okay. Randy was right and he just kind of missed making this good. I'm tired of the debate about him being an authentic rocker, though.

Danny: not as creepy as last week. His vocal was okay and his banter with the judges was good.

David Hernandez: a really solid confident performance...but I kind of forgot about him by the end of the show. No vote for him!

Jason Yeager: there was more life in Dead Meat this week. I kind of wanted to vote for him as I thought he wasn't one of the worst two. But then I couldn't make the effort to dial the numbers, which says it all, I suppose.

Chikeze: not perfect, but fun and good. I voted for him.

David C. : I thought this, well, rocked. I hate his hairdo and it ruins his overall look. But I liked the vocal and the guitar playing. I voted for him too.

David A.: he was outstanding and his vocal reminded me of George Michael in places. I didn't vote for him though because I felt I would just be adding fuel to that fire. And his aw shucks thing is getting annoying. It's still nothing as bad as Doolittle's, though.

My predictions for departure: Luke and Robbie.

2/27/08, 8:22 AM  
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