Archive for April, 2011

The Top 6 Find Disaster In Numbers

(This recap brought to you by Day Late And Dollar Short Inc.)

American Idol hates me. It refuses to cut itself down to sixty minutes, even though it can absolutely fit into sixty minutes. No, instead it runs ninety minutes long and includes three of the world’s worst duets ever. Idol, why must you constantly ruin my life? The show is more fun if it’s only an hour long! At this rate, the final two are going to have to sing like ten songs each to fill the five hour time slot the producers are going to run it in. Really. Top 6 night should be an hour long. There is no reason for it to run for ninety minutes.

That rant aside, I enjoyed a lot of the show. The performances that weren’t done in twos mostly delivered. And the performances that were done in twos delivered in other, less talented ways. The judging felt a bit more even, though it still hardly qualified as judging. Ryan Seacrest was insane, but what would a season of American Idol be without that one week where nothing Ryan says or does makes a modicum of sense? I know I wanted to say other general comments, and perhaps I’ll remember at some point, but it’s been a while since the show so I’m just gonna jump into the performances.
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The Voice: The Blind(ly Fun) Auditions

Ever since NBC released the extended preview for The Voice last week, I’ve been ridiculously excited for the premiere. I mean, it already has the star-studded judging coaching team of Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Cee-Lo Green, but you don’t really get the full force of that star power until you’ve seen them on stage together rocking out to Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” I tried to imagine a similar situation with the Idol judges and it just wasn’t working out. Like, would it just be Steven Tyler screaming crazy runs while J. Lo did some booty-shaking and Randy Jackson name-dropped people who are still relevant? I don’t know, I don’t know. I can tell you it wouldn’t be anything close to the terrific performance that kicked off the series premiere of The Voice though.

The concept of the show is definitely gimmicky. I mean, the “blind” auditions are only going to last for, what seems to be, two episodes. Then it’s not just the voice but the voice and the image and the stage presence and the confidence and the not-looking-like-you-fell-face-first-into-a-kindergarten-art-project factor. Then there’s the whole deal with each coach creating a team of singers and competing on a stage styled after a boxing ring. Whatever, though. If the coaches keep bringing the level of entertainment they brought tonight without overrunning the entire show and the contestants continue to deliver, I’ll definitely stay tuned.

Anyway, on to the voices!
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Top 6 Song Choices: Carole King

After Ryan announced that this week’s theme would be the Carole King songbook, I quickly realized that I know zero Carole King songs. Alright, that’s a bit of a lie. I know the song that killed Katelyn Epperly, the one Lauren Alaina already performed and the Gilmore Girls theme song. All six should just sing the Gilmore Girls theme song. I think that would be an entertaining week of television. So I’m going with another week of not actually making any real suggestions.

I actually am looking forward to this week, despite my abysmal knowledge of the theme. Yes, it is going to result in a ton of ridiculously dated songs, but I don’t mind that. (I’m still praying for a Rat Pack/Big Band/Standards week, personally.) Artist-specific themes tend to result in some surprisingly strong performances. It’s so narrow that the contestants can really find the best song for their purpose – and most will be forced to distinctly reinvent the original. If history is anything to go by, the guys, especially, should shine on Wednesday.

Everyone and their mother is suggesting “I Feel The Earth Move” for Haley. I don’t think that’s a good idea. I don’t think anyone should sing that song, really. It’s good, but too safe a choice for anyone to really break out with. It never really goes anywhere. Plus, it’ll bring me back to the top 16 results show last year and that’s just not a place I want to be. Katelyn! :(

Scotty needs to be animated (at this point, he pretty much can’t pick a straight-up country song so the producers did him a favor). Durbin needs to have a good vocal performance (with theatrics or not, anything to replace the blood-curdling screams from last week). Lauren still desperately needs her moment (which she is only gonna get at this point by singing the hell out of a ballad). Haley needs to pray Jacob goes early and screws up (because well, let’s face it, Haley’s performance quality has no bearing on her placement). Jacob needs to avoid listening to Randy’s advice at all costs (or not, he actually should just preach to us and then screech out cat noises for two minutes. Even better, he can screech out his preaching!). That’s everyone, right? I think that’s everyone. I hope they do well.

Who’s hyped for The Voice tonight?!

Top Idol Performances: #95-91

Here are a couple quick stats about this top 100 list before we get into the next set of performances:

  • Every season is represented
  • Every winner and every runner-up is represented
  • 54 different contestants appear
  • 3 contestants who failed to make the finals appear

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The Top 7 Take A Shot At Relevancy

The Idols all did their best to prove to America that they are relevant! current! artists! So it makes absolute sense that we got a song that was released in 1983 and a Luther Vandross song. I mean, what screams “music today” more than the 80’s and Luther? A group sing to “So What” by rejected contestants, that’s what! Seriously, though, I thought I had died and gone to heaven when the performance show started off with a pointy-pose group performance. And not any pointy-pose group performance, but a pointy-pose group performance featuring Ashthon Jones and Naima Adedapo. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved the excuse to have Pia back on the show group performance, but why on earth does Idol insist on shackling anyone with “So What”? The only good thing that “So What” has given us is Scott MacIntyre’s dance moves during the Season 8 finale. (Seriously, if you’re ever bored just youtube Season 8 group performances and play “follow the blind guy.”)

Someone apparently reminded the judges that they could judge things! They actually critiqued people tonight other than Haley. (Haley included, of course.) Now, they still didn’t critique everyone. Nor did they really have any rhyme or reason to their critiques, but at least they’re trying again. Baby steps, people. Maybe next week they’ll go a step further and judge based on the performance they just saw! Wouldn’t that be crazy? We can dream, can’t we? *Sigh* Until then, the Idolsphere will have to do its best to sling critiques that are at least partially based in reality at these contestants…
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Concert Review: Sirk and The Dirty Minds

It is becoming increasingly apparent to me that American Idol and associated products are not-so-slowly pushing me closer to the edge of insanity. When I heard that Kris Allen’s LA County Spring Fair show was canceled, I was mildly curious. When I heard that he was replacing it with another show in LA, I was intrigued. When I heard he was playing the Viper Room, I found myself on a three hundred mile flight and questioning when everything in my life had gone so drastically downhill. (It was sometime after Season Eight’s Idol Live tour which was some twenty minutes away from me and I couldn’t be bothered to attend but clearly before I was waiting in line in Fresno of all places in triple digit heat to see Miley Cyrus’s ex-boyfriend’s lace-up pants. Come to think of it, you know what happened between these events? Season Nine. I’m going to blame Season Nine. Damn you, Lee DeWyze.)
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Top 7 Song Choices: Songs From The 21st Century

Finally, everyone who has been pleading for a current theme night has gotten their wish. The contestants will be singing songs from the 21st century this week and we’ll hopefully get to see where everyone thinks they fit in to today’s music scene. Typically, though, current theme weeks tend to be something of a minefield for contestants. The main trap these contestants need to avoid is picking a song that is too close to their own style. In other weeks, the best song choices are those that are close to the contestant’s personal style, but can be reinvented to be made more current. This week, contestant’s can’t make the songs much more current than they already are and will have to put their own spin on it a different way. I mean, there’s a reason Daughtry doesn’t cover Nickelback and Lady Gaga doesn’t cover Ke$ha. (You know, other than the fact that Nickelback and Ke$ha are both awful.)

The other general piece of advice? For the love of all that is sacred, do not pick a song from a former Idol. It won’t go well for you. (Even if I would pay money to watch Jacob Lusk sing Kelly Clarkson’s “I Do Not Hook Up.”)
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