Tuesday, May 06, 2008

This show won't be going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Remember when this show used to be entertaining, even if the singing wasn't that great? I'm trying to, after once again watching a lackluster hour of American Idol. Yeah, it wasn't as badly produced as it was last week (any worse would be impossible), but the singing was once again mediocre and unexciting, even if they were singing some legendary songs. This season can't end soon enough.

David Cook ("Hungry Like the Wolf")-- I'm presuming that this song is considered one of the 500 most influential rock songs of all time as much, if not more, for its video than the song itself. It was one of the first music videos I ever saw--since in Montgomery County, Maryland we weren't wired for cable until I went to college and this video was shown early on the first ever broadcast of NBC's "Friday Night Videos" in 1983, I think. I believe it was the winner, over David Bowie's "Let's Dance," in the first phone-in vote. Ok, sorry for the flashback. I guess I was just delaying because I really don't know what to say about this performance except that it was kind of blah and boring. David has a really good voice, but this isn't a song that shows that off because it really doesn't go anywhere special vocally. And what was all that about Paula and David giving her an appetite? That was sort of disturbing and perhaps inappropriate.

Syesha Mercado ("Proud Mary")--Syesha has stepped it up in the last few weeks, but I didn't think this was anything special at all. It wasn't bad, it was just perfunctory. She sang it OK, but just like in the past, it just didn't draw me in. I was shocked when Paula used the the word "magnetic" to describe her performance, but actually happy, since it gave me the word to describe what was missing. The performance just didn't have any magnetism. Those dance steps she did during the tempo change summed it up--she did the right thing, but she looked totally unnatural, like she was thinking about it the whole time so she would do it correctly. It was done correctly, but it was anything but magnetic.

Jason Castro ("I Shot the Sherriff")--At least you can say that Jason looked like he was trying on this song, unlike that "September Morn" mess last week. It wasn't all that good, but I take exception to Simon's statement that the "only similarity" between Jason now and Jason earlier in the competition is "the hair." No, Jason is pretty much doing the same thing he was doing back in March, but his act got sort of tired. Other than "Hallelujah," he's never done any heavy lifting in the vocal department. As for Jason Castro singing Bob Marley, well, that joke is just too obvious to even bother doing.

David Archuleta ("Stand By Me")--For the commenter--I believe it was "Cookie"--who believes that David is taking some sort of medication, I think you might be on to something. Whenever I watch him stand there waiting for the judges' comments, it looks like he's being held hostage. Something's not quite right. And it's probably his crazy father, judging by the article in Entertainment Weekly this week about song selection before the Neil Diamond show. While David was rehearsing "America," he was saying stuff to the musical director like "the beginning needs to have a U2 vibe" (no, I don't know what he was talking about) and "There's too many 'Today's." The reporter did say, though, that he occasionally compliments his son, and then had David saying "My dad is like my translator" and "I have issues explaining what I want." It also said that David eliminates any song on the song list with "inappropriate lyrics" and that he doesn't want to sing anything about "partying all night with a woman." Make of that what you will, but it all comes off a little weird in my book. As for the song, does anyone above the age of about 20 want to see David Archuleta win American Idol? Especially if he's never going to sing any songs about "partying all night with a woman"? Actually, the reason I don't want to see David Archuleta win American Idol is because while he's a perfectly solid singer, every single song is exactly the same thing, no matter the song. You could see it tonight--in both his first and second song, he does a vocal run and goes for a higher note a few lines in, and then holds a note at the same point in the chorus each time. Am I crazy, or is there like a template that he fits every song into each week? Yeah, Randy keeps yelling "that was hot." If I was there, I'd yell, "That was ... the same!"

David Cook ("Baba O'Reily")--When David said he'd be singing this song, I thought, "Hmm, this could be interesting." And it was better than his first song, but I still thought it was a disappointment. Part of the problem was that the song is just too long to fit into the 90 seconds or so that you have on Idol to sing. Part of the song is the build to the "teenage wasteland" part of the song, and that pretty much got chopped out of the song. And so we saw him sing a decent section of the first verse, and then repeat the words "teenage wasteland" about ten times and that was pretty much it. Three years ago, Constantine was somehow able to fit Bohemian Rhapsody into a minute and a half and do it justice. David wasn't able to do that tonight. And he didn't even do a Roger Daltrey microphone twirl either. (By the way, I can't recommend highly enough the Youtube video I just watched of The Who performing this song live from sometime in the 1970s. I challenge you to not get out of your chair at some point during the song and pump your fist. And it's not completely fair, but it will make you realize how unimpressive David Cook's performance was.)

I promised a few weeks ago I'd tell my "You Got a Friend" story if people wanted to hear it, and I think I got a request or two. I'm reminded of it tonight, for reasons you'll soon realize. It was senior year in high school, and a meeting of the entire senior class was called. One of the topics: Picking our senior class song. The officers had selected three finalists: a song I can't remember but hardly anyone had heard of, "I've Had the Time of My Life" from "Dirty Dancing," and "You've Got A Friend." At the announcement of these choices, particularly the "Dirty Dancing" song, a riot nearly broke out before the class president said, "If you don't like the choices, you can nominate another one... but nothing negative like Teenage Wasteland. Someone then yelled out, "It's called 'Baba O'Reily." Anyway, I always thought that was funny, and "You've Got a Friend" was the class song because no guy was going to vote for a song from "Dirty Dancing."


Syesha Mercado ("A Change is Gonna Come")--I had a hard time paying attention to Syesha's song after Syesha compared her situation on American Idol to the civil rights movement. Huh? She even brought it up again while she was crying and I still don't understand the connection. But I guess Syesha thinks very highly of herself. Wow--"The civil rights movement ... was a pivotal time in history" and "this is a pivotal time in my life." What I did pay attention to I didn't particularly care for. She oversung the song. Sam Cooke, as Randy mentioned, didn't need to hold the final note of the song for 15 seconds, and Syesha didn't need to either. She made the song her own, but it wasn't a song I wanted to hear. As for that crying jag, I have no idea what was going on--but I guess if you think about yourself as akin to the civil rights movement, then the praise she garnered for her performance must have made her feel like she had given her "I have a dream" speech.

Jason Castro ("Mr. Tambourine Man")--What more is there to say? Pretty much like the last song he did, except it was probably a little better vocally but cancelled out by that botched lyric. Now if he had started over, would the judges have praied him?
As for "It didn't blow us away, but you blow us away"--even Paula couldn't come up with a decent compliment, huh?

David Archuleta ("Love Me Tender")--David Archuleta finally sings a love song, and it sounds just like every other song. Probably the best performance of the night objectively, but American Idol isn't about being objective. So it annoyed me, for the reasons outlined above.

Who's going home? I hope it's Jason Castro, but he's got his fans out there--when EW printed a quote from its story on its Website in which Jason basically said that he was ready to go home, an amazing number of people (more than two) left angry comments accusing the magazine of making the quote up. Kind of scary. But I still think he'll go home. Fingerhut out.

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15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the similarity Simon was referring to is the hair between Jason and Bob Marley...

5/7/08, 1:25 AM  
Anonymous kson220 said...

Well, I went into this evening really excited. Tonight's theme could have been awesome...if the contestants had done a better job.

David C-Hungry Like the Wolf-I didn't get it. With the plethora of songs available, he could have picked just about anything and I would have been more pleased. Since David is a rock guy, one would have thought that his song choice for his 1st song would have been bettter. That said, his performance was, as Simon would say, safe. Nothing special. What Paula said was not inappropriate, it was her lame attempt at using the song title to reflect her apprciation of David's performance. BTW, thanks for the blast from the past. Friday Night Videos...wow.

Syesha-Proud Mary-I knew as aoon as I saw her, that she was going to do Tina. The dress really gave it away, but Syesha loves doing the big singers. Syesha is a diva in trainiing. I thought her performance was OK. Atleast she didn't lose me 1/2 way through. Simon can be brutal. He said he was putting a damper on things, but he put the fire out.

Jason-I Shot the Sherrif-Is anyone surprised that he sang this song? Jason was just plain wrong for doing this song. It was a mess. One would have thought that he would do a much better job considering he is all about reggae and smooth, and the fact that he said he had performed the song before. Simon's comment was in relation to any similarity between Jason and Bob Marley, not earlier Jason and Jason now.

David A-Stand By Me-Another not surprising song choice. I thought it was a really good performance. My husband gave it a so-so, which equals pretty good coming from him. I knew that the judges were going to give him high marks. I love that you read the Ent. Weekly article. I referenced it in my notes about Jason's 2nd song. I am 100% on board with your observations and comments about David. He is practically an automaton.

David C-Baba O'Riley-The audience is so funny. I love it when they get their scream on. Whatever, audience histrionics aside, I could listen to this performance again. I would love to hear him do the entire song. But, I will never do the iTunes thing. And no, it isn't fair to compare his performance with the performance of one of the best rock groups ever. Come on.

Syesha-A Change is Gonna Come-Another big song for Syesha; atleast it has big meaning to it. She cracks me up. She can sing, but she really needs to pick better songs. She went to the "shouting" place on this song, as opposed to singing. It was really good, and I am happy that she did well. I do wonder why she had to research the song. She should already know what the background of this song is.

FINALLY, the story!! Ah, connections, connections.

Jason-Mr. Tambourine Man-Forgotten lyrics. Shame, shame, shame. It was almost as if the mistake was intentional. He said in the Ent. Weekly article that he was ready to go home. Why come all this way to not see it through? He should have stayed home. Chikeze could have been in his place. I am certain that he wouldn't be ready to go home. I digress; again, sorry. Of the good, bad, and ugly; he had bad and ugly. 2 bad performances tonight, I think Simon was correct...pack your bags.

David A-Love Me Tender-I understand the 17 year old not knowing Elvis so well and needing to do some research. At the one minute mark in this song, my husband agreed with me (wonder of wonders) when I said, "Can't be mad at him, the boy can sing". Automaton, his father's puppet, or whatever, as far as I am concerned, he crushed the competition tonight. And, no, I really don't want him to win; I'm rooting for David Cook at this point.

I didn't know about the outcry from Ent. Weekly's comments, but it doesn't make a difference. Jason has to go home. Missed lyrics aside, he is the worst of the remaining four, and needs to pack it in. We shall see.

5/7/08, 2:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does anyone else want to see David A become ridiculously famous and immidiatley become corrupted and start partying with women all night long, drinking and doing drugs, estranged from his father! Let's all start a corrupt David A campaign!

5/7/08, 12:23 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Eric-
Yes the similarity was between Marley and Jason's dreads.

Also, if you listened, Syesha was not comparing her to the civil rights movement - were you tired last night? She was talking about what the song was about and that it moved her and it was very meaningful and that is why she wanted to sing it!

Jason better go home..

5/7/08, 4:20 PM  
Anonymous john said...

Okay, I decided that I would become a voter again and stop complaining. So...

two votes each for the Davids and two for Syesha. None for Jason.

Otherwise, I was pretty bored for the show.

5/7/08, 5:18 PM  
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