Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"American Idol": At the Movies With Quentin and the Top 7

Ok, before I say anything else about tonight's show, I have to say these three things:

1. If you have not seen the movie "Once," see it stat. It's available on Netflix.

2. Having seen it, you will understand why Kris Allen chose the song he did.

3. Simply by virtue of choosing that song ("Falling Slowly"), Kris Allen has officially become my favorite contestant this season. Know how I know? I actually voted for him tonight - yes, I did, even though there are others I like, too, and even though I'd previously sworn David Cook would be the only "Idol" contestant who would ever inspire me to vote.

So back to this week's theme. At first I thought it was going to be all songs from Quentin Tarantino flicks, which might have been more interesting than what we got. Say what you like about the man's movies, there's no question he knows how to use music in them. Not sure that really qualifies him to be a musical mentor (or for that matter a guest judge, which I missed in season 3), but turns out he had some pretty sound advice for most of the kids. And he wasn't at all harsh on any of them, somewhat to my surprise. Frankly, some of them could have used a little more tough love before going in front of the judges.

Speaking of which, what is with this judging in sets of two? To save time? Couldn't they just all talk a little less? Couldn't they just not have hired Kara?

The contestants overall were a bit blah this week, though arguably no more than usual or than might be expected from having to sing such a cliched bunch of songs. Don't believe for a minute that they had much of a choice - I wouldn't be surprised if they had a list of only 20 or so songs from which they were allowed to select. The result was predictably uninspired.

ALLISON, "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" (Aerosmith/Diane Warren) from "Armageddon": The girls' "only hope," eh, Simon? Losing faith in your Lil? Ironically, this was one of the rare weeks that I didn't think Allison was that much better than Lil. Not bad, but not fantastic - the song seems to have been keyed too low for her, and she got pitchy towards the end. Still, based on past performances she does deserve to be the last girl standing - not that that's saying much with this year's crowd.

ANOOP, "Everything I Do" (Bryan Adams) from "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves": I confess I have a soft spot for (1) this cheesy song, (2) the cheesy movie it's from, which I was obsessed with in 8th grade, (3) 'Noop Dawg, both for the tone of his voice and for his geeky-cute college boy persona. But even setting all that aside, I thought Anoop did a really nice job. While he didn't exactly "rough it up" as QT suggested, he did sing with feeling and great control. Thought this was one of his stronger performances, as well as one of the strongest of the night.

ADAM, "Born to Be Wild" from "Easy Rider": Always the showman, that Adam, and this was no exception. But as I've said before, I prefer dialed-back Adam. He was a little too wail-y for me tonight, even though I know that's his thing. I thought Simon's comments were fair.

MATT, "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman" (Bryan Adams again) from "Don Juan de Marco": Aw, another song I loved as a teenager (what can I say, I was never cool). Some shaky parts, but I actually thought this was pretty good, though not spectacular. Judges were back to being too harsh on him, after being too nice to him last week. Whatever.

DANNY, "Endless Love" (Lionel Richie): Ha ha, love that QT told him to cool it with the come-to-church hand gestures. Vocally solid, but he lacks finesse and originality. At least Simon called him on the latter by referring to - wait for it - David Cook! Still, there's not a doubt in my mind Danny did well enough to keep himself around for another week.

KRIS, "Falling Slowly" (Glen Hansard/Markéta Irglová), from "Once": I nearly squealed when I first heard Kris was doing this song (again, folks, please rent "Once" if you haven't seen it already), though I think of it so much as a duet I wasn't sure he'd be able to pull it off. But, with the help of a backup singer, he did. No, Randy, it was not pitchy - it was tender, tentative, and pensive, just as it should be. Sure, there was a note here or there that wasn't perfect, but it hardly mattered because Kris put his soul into it. I do worry, though, that the subtle nature of the song (and his delivery), and the fact that it isn't as well known as the others, might hurt him among voters.

LIL, "The Rose" (Bette Midler): Another resoundingly mediocre turn from Lil. Very gaspy, and she couldn't hold that last note. Talking back to Simon may win her some sympathy, but it might also cost her some. Here's hoping there's enough of the latter to give her the boot.

BEST OF THE NIGHT: Kris, followed by Anoop


BOTTOM 2-3: Sadly, I still think Kris, Anoop, and Matt are splitting votes, so I have a feeling at least 2 of them may be in the bottom 3. Beyond that I don't know - could be Lil, could be Allison. I'm betting Danny and Adam have nothing to worry about.

GOING HOME TOMORROW: I *hope* it's Lil, but I'm afraid it might be Matt. It could also be Anoop; Kris is somewhat less likely, but far from impossible. Oh hell, I have no idea; all I know is it *shouldn't* be any of those boys!


Blogger jchensor said...

It's funny, as soon as I saw Kris singing a song from Once, I immediately thought about how you must have been reacting, Lynn (well, you and Dequina). ^_^ Thanks to that performance and song choice, however, it has become painfully obvious to me that Kris has, by far, the best musical background and knowledge.

Lil needs to go. She's terrible, and whatever potential the judges saw in her from before is all but gone. It's clear she doesn't have the chops to live up to her potential. And I cannot understand the love affair with Adam, sorry to say. He's a great showman, that's for sure, but I think his flamboyance just seems to be a way to mask the fact that he's actually not a great singer. He's usually pretty pitchy unless he's doing that high pitch wailing thing. I tend to not look at the TV at all when I'm watching the show, and I usually find that, when not looking at his performance, his vocals are good but not great.

And I have to admit, your "what can I say, I was never cool" comment made me laugh. You saying liking Bryan Adams isn't cool?? ~_^

- James

P.S. Guess I really need to see "Once".

6:12 PM  
Blogger lylee said...

You still haven't seen "Once"?! How did Jeff let you get away with that?

Anyway, as usual, I agree with you. Kris is the pleasant surprise discovery of this season. In addition to having the musical knowledge, he has IMO the best musical sensibilities of this group - or maybe I just mean the ones that match up the best with my own! :-P But seriously, you can tell for him it's about the music, not about showing off his vocal pipes, and that's really refreshing.

As for Adam, though I go back and forth on him, on the whole I'm with you in that I admire him as a performer, but as a vocalist he isn't as great as everyone makes him out to be. Though I definitely like him a lot better when he slows it down.

And yes, Lil *so* needs to go. I haven't been impressed by a single one of her performances this season, and her attitude is annoying - she so clearly believes she's better than she is. Of course a lot of the blame for that lies with the judges, who have been inflating her abilities since day one, only to start deflating now that they realize she just isn't good enough to go all the way. Judges: useless. And that includes you, Simon!

3:38 PM  
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