Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I was only sort of inspired by Idol

I could save all of us a lot of time by saying that I agreed with pretty much everything Simon said tonight--but I'll blog anyway. After all, someone has to complain that they've gotten a little carried away with this whole "Idol Gives Back" thing. Not only is it going to be more than two and a half hours long tomorrow night, but they've also got the presidential candidates and the prime minister of Great Britain to record messages for the show. Yeah, I know it's for a good cause, but I like to watch American Idol because it's an hour when I can just watch a singing show and not have to think about Hillary Clinton or John McCain or the problems of the world. Is it so wrong to want to keep it that way? And then there's the story I read today in which Seacrest and the judges all announced that they would be donating their paychecks for Wednesday night to Idol Gives Back. That's very nice, I guess (although I guess that means they did get paid for it last year.) As I said last year, though, what about Nigel, Ken, and the production company that puts Idol on, 19 Entertainment? How much did they donate to all this after asking everyone else to chip in? OK, enough with that sore subject.

Tonight's theme was inspirational songs. After last week's more narrow theme, it was nice to open it up a little this week for a category that was much broader than I had thought. I've heard the song "Dream On" lots of times, but never thought of it as inspirational, nor did I think that of "You've Got A Friend." But there's a first time for everything.

Michael Johns (Dream On)--After giving us one of the best peformances of the competition last week and becoming a contender again with a bluesy, soulful performance, I thought Michael returned to what he had been most of the season--a guy doing a good but not great job of covering well-known rock songs. Midway through tonight's performance, I said to myself, "I'd like to see some originality here" but never really got much. He sang the song fine, it just wasn't particularly special. And for the first of many times, Paula just needed to shut up here. Paula, it's fine you disagree with the other judges. You get your time to give your opinion. When someone else gives an opinion you don't agree with, it's annoying and kind of rude to interrupt them in the middle of it to tell them how wrong they are (especially when their opinion is closer to the truth). It's been seven seasons? Doesn't anyone tell her this, just on the street or something?

Syesha Mercado ("I Believe")--LaKisha did this same song last year (I believe also during Idol Gives Back week), and I wrote the same thing I'm going to write now. Why? Why would you be stupid enough to perform a song that a previous Idol contestant basically immortalized on the very same stage? Fantasia practically lit the stage on fire that night after winning by singing this song. And the judges loved Fantasia as much as any Idol contestant they've ever had. Why would you sing a song in which you're going to be unfavorably compared to the previous singer of the song, no matter what you do? Having said all that, she sang it fairly well--but that's practially irrelevant.

Jason Castro (Somewhere Over the Rainbow)--About 10 seconds into this performance, after realizing that this version of the song is played on some commercial, I just started laughing. Seriously, Jason Castro is now playing the ukelele on stage? It's like he's become a parody of himself. But the judges were correct, he sounded really good.

Kristy Lee Cook (Anyway)--That song was right in Kristy's wheelhouse, and she hit a solid double, if not a triple. That wasn't bad at all. But she can't win--so it's still probably time for her to go.

David Cook (Innocent)--Mediocre song, mediocre performance. I said it a couple weeks ago, but it got much worse tonight: David Cook seems way too into himself. The posing and pointing to the sky in the middle of the song, the "give back" on the hand--maybe take yourself a little less seriously next week, David. And pick a song that allows you to show off your voice--because that one didn't.

Carly Smithson (Show Must Go On)--Probably the one time I didn't agree with Simon tonight. Although I expected it to be better, I didn't think Carly was that bad tonight. Simon, I believe, described her performance as angry, but that's the Carly I like. Instead of the nervous, weird Carly, we got the Carly who has the "I'm going to kick your butt" look and attitude. And each week she gets better looking--while her husband's face tattoo gets more disturbing looking. I hope Simon wasn't correct and she may be in trouble--in fact, that may have been Simon's effort to rally her fan base. I'm still not Carly's biggest fan, but she can sing rings around Kristy Lee Cook--and pretty much every other woman left.

David Archuleta (Angels)--I guess I can understand why David Archuleta had so much trouble picking a song--all he ever sings are inspirational songs, so this pretty much opened it up to just about every song he likes. He was really good vocally, as usual, but I'm still kind of bored by him. And was it just me, or in his posture when he waited to hear the judges remarks and the looks he gave after it was over, was anyone else getting a "I'm tired of this and ready for it to end" vibe from young David? He just seemed to have a beaten-down, slouched air about him. But maybe I'm just projecting my thoughts on him. And the creepiest sign of the night by far was that girl with the "Lick Those Lips!" poster. That's just weird.

Brooke White ("You've Got A Friend")--I like Brooke, but she seems to be hitting a wall. This was a nice, authentic performance like "Let It Be," but just didn't hit the same heights that did and came across, as Simon said, as nice and pleasant but not particularly remarkable.I don't know why she didn't play the piano herself. And the crying after the performance was OK once, but a bit much when it happens more than that. By the way, I've got sort of a funny story involving the song "You've Got A Friend" and high school, if anyone wants to hear it. If enough people leave comments requesting it, I'll tell it in a future blog entry.

Bottom three is going to be Syesha, Kristy and Brooke, and I think Syesha will go home, because she sang early in the show and Kristy did better than usual. But it wouldn't bother me if it went the other way. Remember, the results show this week is on Thursday just to make us suffer. I'll definitely blog about that, but I'm not sure I have the energy to blog Idol Gives Back tomorrow. Fingerhut out.



Blogger Cookie said...

Okay Eric. Your mother got me reading your blog when you first got started and it hasn't been until now that I have felt compelled to comment. Is it just me or does anyone else out there think Jason was channeling Tiny Tim last night????? I thought it was ghastly. After talking with folks this morning, I understand people know of and like the version of Rainbow that he was singing. I sang a barbershop rendition of Rainbow in a previous life with harmonies that would make you weep, so maybe that's why I can't get past it. I adored Cat McPhee's version years back - knocked me out. I just thought this was BAD. I couldn't have been more surprised when the judges liked it. Go figure. I think I just don't get the Jason thing generally. Personality and charm - he's got it. Pipes? I don't think so.

4/9/08, 10:12 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Okay - The version of Rainbow that jason sang happens to be on the radio quite often and I love it...he hit it on the nose but he is kind of the same every week and I think sort of boring. Cookie is right though, Kat McPhee was the bomb a few years with this!

Syesha was great no matter who sang the damn song! They are singing songs by Whitney who is one of the greatest ever...Fantasia is good but come on.

I still like Michael, David, Carly, and Brooke. And I think it is time for Kristy to go home but I think the bottom three might be Jason, Kristy, and Syesha or Brooke..just not sure.

Now to comment on Idol gives Back - Eric - you really need to realize the good that they are doing with how many watch this show in the nation and how much money they can raise for a good cause so I totally disagree how long or what it is..if they raise millions of dollars. And did the producers of We are the World or Live Aid all donate too? Who cares - they are doing a good thing and you need to reach within and see that and not say anything negative about helping people in need.

With that said, I am attending a fundraiser tonight as well and it will be my thirs one in a 2 weeks...so I can give back too!

4/9/08, 10:50 AM  
Anonymous John said...

There's a fundraiser that I'd go to: "Amy Gives Back." Good for you Amy!

I'm not going artist by artist this week. David Cook was very rough for me, though I still like him in general.

I'm very torn. I think Syesha is better in general, but I actually thought that Kristy was better than her this week. That could be the end for Syesha, then.

David Archuletta: I think the act isn't supposed to be "wearniness" Fingerman, but he's so concerned with the judges comments. Either way, it's annoying and fake.

Lick Those Lips: I noticed it and was confused and troubled by it. Did that 7-year old want to lick Archie's lips? Or is that some sort of tick that David has that I didn't notice. Either way, it kind of made me sad.

Brooke: a little dull.
Jason: self-parody
Michael: solid but uninspired
Carly: I like her more each week. And I'm always up for your jokes about the face tatoo.

I'd love to hear your "You've Got a Friend" story.

4/9/08, 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Mom said...

Eric, you may not have the energy to blog about tonight's show, but I don't have the energy to watch it!! I do think it's a good cause, however,I just can't sit there and watch it all of those hours.

4/9/08, 12:50 PM  
Anonymous kson220 said...

Eric, it is 2008, and it is election time. The candidates are going to be everywhere and anywhere they can get an audience. It is what it is. As for 19 Entertainment and how much they gave or give, even though we don't know the figure, I would feel safe placing a bet on them giving being a Yes. To Amy, yes, the producers of Live Aid and We Are The World donated megga bucks to their respective causes. Finally, just because it is announce that something is going to happen this year, it does NOT mean it did not happen last year. You really need to lighten up a little on 19 Ent. and the talent. You are getting all bent out of shape about something you don't even know.

Michael-Ditto Fingerhut.

Syesha-Ditto Fingerhut

Jason-This version of Rainbow is at the end of 50 1st Dates. Unlike so many of you, I absolutely LOVED Jason's performance. My best friend was watching with me last night, and she sounded like the guy in Big talking to Tom Hanks...I don't get it, I don't get it. But, you can believe that many did. It was the best performance of the night if you can break your brain out of the standard version. And yes, even I liked McPhee's version; and I am not a fan of hers.

Kristy Lee-She sang Anyway. Perfect title since that was my feeling on her performance.

David C-Ditto Fingerhut

Carly-Nowhere near as bad as Simon made out, but I am comfortable saying last night was one of her weakest performance to date, after Total Eclipse of the Heart. I can see her in the bottom 3. I guess it is the difference in us Eric, but I would love to see Carly try and kick my butt. Not.

David A-Sound vocally, just getting repetitive. The kid is going to make a boat load of money singing slow mushy songs when this is over, but for the competition, he REALLY needs to pick it up. He is going to put his fanbase to sleep before they can vote for him.

Brooke-LOVED it. Maybe because I am a huge Carol King fan. She goes right with my Carly Simon addiction.

I want to hear the You've Got A Friend story!!!!!

My bottom 3-Syesha, David C, and Kristy Lee. I know I won't be in line with America Thursday, but I do hope that enough got how really good Jason's Rainbow really was. Tiny Tim? You have got to be kidding.

4/9/08, 5:36 PM  

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