Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A little too much of the Beatles

That was a pretty unpleasant two hours of American Idol tonight. Yes, I had a very long day yesterday, but I couldn't even get through the whole show tonight without turning off my DVR with a couple singers left and taking a brief nap. But I'm not going to primarily blame the singers for tonight's mess--no, I think the producers bear a big portion of the blame.

First, there was no reason to do a second week in a row of Beatles songs. Yeah, I know Ryan claimed this was a reaction to "popular demand," but are there really people who are calling or e-mailing American Idol urging them to do a second Beatles night? You mean that instead of being a frustrated blogger, you can write American Idol and they'll listen to you? Sorry, I don't believe it. And even if that is true, it doesn't mean Idol should have listened. Last week was good, but nothing spectacular. There were a number of strong performances, but just as many mediocre to poor performances. And while there are so many great Beatles songs, many aren't necessarily good American Idol songs. They often have intricate melodies and don't necessarily allow a singer to show off his or her voice. And many of them sound great because of the whole package of a song: the harmonies, the musicianship, the whole feel of the song, rather than just the lead vocal. So a song like "Here Comes the Sun," one of the more beautiful records you're ever going to hear, just sounds a little repetitive and boring when it's just one singer singing it, like we had tonight.

Even more problematic, though, was something I noticed during David Archuleta's performance and got more annoying as the show continued. The volume level on the audience was jacked up so high that it was hard to even hear the singer sometimes, and the crowd was cheering every time a singer did any kind of vocal run--or even, at times, just hit an occasional high note. My friend John said perhaps the producers wanted us to get the feel of going to an actual Beatles concert, when you couldn't hear the music over the crowd cheering. If so, it worked--and it was a terrible idea. Hey guys, this is a TV show where we at home want to critique the singers along with the judges--it is NOT a concert. I could barely hear half of Archuleta's song. And was the crowd getting prompted to cheer that much, or have AI audiences always cheered that enthusiastically when a singer does something as rudimentary as completing a verse? I said I liked the mosh pit idea last week, but if the result is some out of control crowd drowning out the singers, I was terribly wrong. They better fix this soon.

Final question: Why Lennon/McCartney last week and the Beatles this week? Did George Harrison delay his approval for a week? Are you as excited as I am that someone could have selected "Octopus' Garden" to sing this week?

Amanda Overmyer (Back in the USSR)--She started out of tune, but got better as the song went on, but Simon was correct: It was boring, and just more of the same. Amanda responded that she wants people to know what her concert will be like--but isn't this show about getting a record deal?

Kristy Lee Cook (You've Got to Hide Your Love Away)--Kristy actually picked this song just because she liked the title? Some of these singers are just strange. Having said that, it's a perfectly good song that she and the band gave some bizarre rock-like arrangement that I don't think I ever want to hear again (although it wasn't anywhere near as bad as Kristy's country monstrosity last week). Even though I hated the arrangement, I must say I didn't hate the performance as a whole. Her voice sounded stronger than it has in past weeks and I wrote down in my notes at the end of the song "Not that bad." So it's progress.

David Archuleta (The Long and Winding Road)--From what I could hear over the screaming teenyboppers, he remembered the words. And it was probably the best of the night--strong, controlled--although not quite deserving of the praise that the judges lavished on it. Even with last week's hiccup, he's still the heavy favorite, and sung like it tonight.

As for Ryan's I-Phone commercial, at least he and the judges are willing to make fun of it--or am I being presumptous? We'll probably find out that when the judges held up their Coke cups mocking it, Coke paid for that. I guess I'm just cynical.

Michael Johns (A Day in the Life)--So someone did do this Beatles classic this week, but he skipped the 45-second piano chord at the end. Oh, well. The judges sort of savaged him, but as Simon said, this is a really complicated song. Shouldn't he get some points for degree of difficulty? Then again, Simon was also probably correct in saying you can't really pare this song down to a minute and a half and have it make sense. And Michael wasn't at his best--he messed up that early high note at the line "House of Lords." By the way, am I the only one who sees Michael Johns in this competition and thinks "Doesn't he seem too old for this?" He looks like the guy in high school who's been held back a few times. Oh, and Paula providing that earpiece excuse for Michael and then finding out Michael wasn't wearing them was so amusing I don't have anything to add--except why did it take Michael so long to reveal he wasn't wearing them? But aside from that, wasn't Paula relatively coherent for the second week in a row? The Beatles must be good for her, at least.

Brooke White (Here Comes the Sun)--As I mentioned above, great song and record, but not sure it works as an American Idol song. But Brooke is just so likable, and so pretty, and has such a pleasant, pure voice, that I could still enjoy what was a fairly unexceptional performance. And why did Brooke do the "do-do-do-do" part vocally, instead of letting the guitarist do it? That was kind of weird.

David Cook (Daytripper--the Whitesnake (?!) version)--Simon said that this performance wasn't as good as David thought it was, and that kind of sums it up. David is getting to be a little much, with all his strutting around after the song. David needs a new trick, because this was a lot like his performances the last two weeks, but not nearly as exciting or intersting. As for pulling out the whole Peter Frampton making the guitar talk thing--the vocoder as the judges called it--I'm still kind of puzzled why he used that. What an old, odd gimmick that added nothing to the performance.

Carly Smithson (Blackbird)--This was strong vocally, but sort of boring, sort of like Brooke in that the song chosen is kind of repetitive. And both Brooke and Carly shared an annoying trait tonight--while Simon was criticizing them, they both butted in and tried to explain their song choices, etc. I appreciate that they didn't argue, but accepted his criticism, but let him finish and then say something if you want to explain.

Jason Castro ("Michelle")--Maybe I'm slowly boarding the Castro bandwagon, but I didn't think this was anywhere near as poor as the judges seemed to think it was. It wasn't anything special, but it was pleasant and fun and in tune.

Syesha Mercado ("Yesterday")--Vocally, Syesha was very good, but this just didn't do much for me. There's nothing particularly distinctive about her voice, and there was just something about it that left me cold. Maybe I just didn't like all the vocal runs she added.

Chikezie ("I've Just Seen A Face")--I didn't like the slow opening, but did really like the fast conclusion. Not in the league of his performance last week, but good enough to keep him around, I would think.

Ramiele Malubay (Should Have Known Better)--Paula said she wanted to see Ramiele back to the kind of singer she was singing the Dusty Springfield song the first week of the semifinals, but maybe that was the aberration and the real Ramiele is the one we've seen every week since--a pleasant singer but nothing memorable. This was more of the same.

Bottom three has to include Kristy Lee Cook. I think Amanda will end up there, hobbled by going first in a two hour show. And even with the pimp spot, I think Ramiele will end up there. I predict Kristy will be going home.

Fingerhut to bed.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Amy said...

Funny I am not really agreeing with you this year on a lot of your observations. I am not so in love with David Archuleta anymore..I think he is too geeky and young and needs to mature a lot more..if this was when he was 19 or 20 he might really win, otherwise I do not think so.

Still like David Cook (did not like the vocoder thing), Michael Johns who looks a hell of a lot younger then yucky Taylor Hicks ever did - was okay but not his best, Brooke White I have like since the auditions and still thinks she is grat and so likable, Carly Smithson is very talented and I think her voice has a lot of range and she showed it last night.

I can do without Ramiele and Kristy Lee Cook and Chikezie was just okay last night. Still think Syesha was pretty good and will be sticking around.

Amanda bores me and sounds the same every week which is mostly like she is screaming and her hair allows me to cook my dinner and listen b/c I cannot stand to look at her...
So, it is Amanda or Krosty going home tonight...
Fingerhut Jr out

3/19/08, 9:01 AM  
Anonymous kson220 said...

Yuck!! What is that I smell? Oh, it is last night's show. It stunk!!! As a huge Beatles fan, I was sorely disappointed. With the plethora of songs to choose from in the Beatles catalog, one would think that the song choices would have been better. I don't have a problem with a 2nd Beatles week, it just was rather boring in general.

Amanda-If she doesn't switch up soon, she is going to sound like she is singing the same song over and over. I understand and appreciate that she is a southern rocker type chick, but for the purposes of AI, she needs to show some versatility. Hope she takes Simon advice for next week.

Kristy Lee-I didn't like the arrangement, and I personnaly, didn't care much for the vocals. Granted, she can't do worse than last week, but this week just wasn't that good either. Maybe she needs to siing songs that she is more familiar with. But honstly, jow can you not be familiar with the music of The Beatles. Just her lack of knowledge makes me like her a little less. And, exactly what kind of drugs is she on to utter the line "You know I can blow your socks off"?!?!?!? Has she paid attention to her performances? The only way that she can blow someones socks off, is if she opened her mouth and got on her knees. If she is so confident that she can sing that well, then what is she waiting for? It may be too late, beacuse I think she is going home tonight.

David A.-I can't speak for anyone else, but I enjoyed his performance enough to rewind it and make my husband surface from his computer to listen. I thought that David's performance more than propelled him past his forgotten lyric debacle of last week. On another note, have you heard anything of David's father being a nightmare on sets? From what I gather, he is like the stage mother on "roids.

I-Phone and Coke. What a wonderful world this is. Product placement is going to ruin our society.

Michael-I actually didn't think this performance was awful. By no means was it one of his better outings, but all in all, not bad. Yes, he did mess up the high note, but grading the performance as a whole, I would still give him a 7 on a scale of 10. And no, he doesn't look to old for this competition. As far as I'm concerned, he is the best looking man up there. A little something for us grown-ups to look at.

Brooke-It was boring. She sang the song just fine, but it is not a song that lends itself to any kind of excitement. I forgot about her performance as soom as she finished.

David C.-Really good performance, but it was the same as last week. Since I am already not a fan, he didn't do anything to win me over with the attitude that he is putting out there. I would be wrong for him to go anytime soon, but it would be wrong for him to win. The guy just gets under my skin.

Carly-Dang, that girl can sing. Don't know if it was the best somg for her t o sing, but she sang it well. I think that whatever you give her, she will do well. I am almost waiting for her to have an off week, just to make sure that America is paying attention. One bad week should not put her out.

Jason-A solid performance. I have been a fan of his since Hollywood, and I hope he goes far, but, he needs to switch up some from the whole hippie vibe some. He and Brooke could duet on an uptempo song. Now that would be interesting.

Syesha-She sang the song well. She always look great (I personally didn't like the dress-looked like a tent on her small frame). I said to my husband, "I am not sure if I loved it or hated it." That seems to be my problem with her every week, which says to me, she could be voted off, and I wouldn't even notice.

Chikieze-My thoughts mirror yours, so I will leave it at that.

Ramiele-I have been lukewarm about her since the season started, and with each passing week, the temperature gets lower. She needs to have an outrageous performance next week, or she may be next off.

Bottm 3-Kristy Lee Cook, Ramiele, and Chikieze. Had to throw in a 3rd person. Could have been Syesha, but she was in the bottom last week, so I went with Chikieze. We shall see.

Talk at ya tomorrow!!

3/19/08, 5:55 PM  
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