Wednesday, April 01, 2009

"American Idol": Top 9 sing...a random bunch of songs

I had to work late tonight, and I have a filing first thing tomorrow morning - so while I managed to watch tonight's show on DVR, I won't be able to write a full recap. However, here are some assorted thoughts about the episode.

THEME: ??? Sounds like any song that was ever popular at any time in the last 40 years or so. I also love how after all the talk about finally being able to do more "current" one did anything current except Anoop and Matt, neither of whom fared particularly well with their choices (at least according to the judges...more on that presently). Then again, as Danny pointed out, the range of actual song choices the contestants get is a lot more limited than what the broad themes would suggest. I think copyright clearances, etc., can be an issue.

BEST OF THE NIGHT: Pretty Kris, "by a country mile," as Simon might say - one of the few compelling moments of an extremely lackluster night. I know I speculated last week that Matt might have David Cook-esque come-from-behind potential, but in fact it's becoming increasingly clear that if anyone's following that dark horse arc, it's Kris Allen. He started out with solid if somewhat inconspicuous performances, and is now emerging as one of this season's most musically self-assured and surefooted performers, as evidenced by his beautiful, heartfelt interpretation of "Ain't No Sunshine."

WORST OF THE NIGHT: Megan, for the second week in a row. That was painfully amateurish. It's too bad, because she does have an interesting tone of voice - she just hasn't been using it to good effect lately.

MOST UNDESERVED PRAISE: Danny and Lil Rounds. I don't understand the judges' overweening love for them - they both sounded really vocally strained and really, really "pitchy" to me. Unlike Simon, I actually thought that Danny was much better last week - though I'm glad he listened to me about the dancing.

MOST UNDESERVED CRITICISM: Matt and Anoop, esp. Matt. While Matt had rough patches (he should stay AWAY from falsetto, no matter what Paula or Kara says) and seemed strung up by nerves, I rather liked his take on the Fray - who are not exactly known for killer vocals anyway - and thought the judges were too harsh on him. Or maybe they're trying reverse psychology to motivate voters who like Matt? As for Anoop, yes, his "Caught Up" was pretty karaoke, but he still sang better than several other contestants whom the judges were falling all over (COUGHdannyCOUGHlilCOUGHscott).

BOTTOM 3 PREDICTION: Megan, Anoop, and Allison. Megan because she sucked (though her looks might save her); Anoop because he went first, wasn't that great, and got lukewarm comments from the judges; and Allison because she's not a hot babe, a cute guy, a mother of adorable kids, an evangelical widower, or a blind sweetheart, and because rocker chicks usually don't have a very long life span on the "Idol" finals. Personally, I'd rather have Lil and Danny (or maybe Scott, likable though he is) in the bottom 3 than Anoop or Allison, but that is highly unlikely to happen.

ELIMINATION PREDICTION: ??? Probably one of the girls; Anoop seems more popular than his performances sometimes warrant. And I have to admit I hope he stays cause I still like him, even though I'm starting to doubt he can pull it together and fully realize his potential.


Kara's delivery and mannerisms seriously bug. And by the way, Kara, it's Studio 54, not 57.

Paula sounded like she was reading off a teleprompter. Not necessarily a bad idea for her.

Adam looks like a cross between Ewan McGregor and Emile Hirsch. And sounds like Steven Tyler.

What was Allison wearing?

Finally, I don't think they announced it, but tomorrow night's results show will feature a performance by last year's winner DAVID COOK! Although I make a point of not watching results shows, I may have to make an exception in this case. Contestants, take notice: David Cook will show you how it's done.

Edited 4/1/09: Post-elimination thoughts

Hmm, not one of DC's better performances. Rather flat, for him. Part of the problem is that song ("Come Back To Me") is so drippy - definitely not one of the stronger tracks off his album, and one of the few he had no hand in writing. But it's pretty enough, and DC is still awesome. Congrats on reaching platinum, Cookie! Here's hoping CBTM is a hit and helps sell you a million more records!

As for the other guest star of the evening, I've never seen Lady Gaga live before and I have to say I can't decide whether that was batshit crazy or kind of brilliant. Maybe both. All's I know is she made Adam's "Ring of Fire" look positively sedate and staid by comparison.

As for the rest of the show, I fast-forwarded through all the judges' comments and Ryan's playing mind games with the contestants because that sort of thing makes me deeply uncomfortable, but I see that Megan, aka Lady Bird, is finally gone. Good - it was time. Girl had potential but needs some serious training before she can even aspire to any kind of musical career.


Blogger Dave said...

Is it me or is A.I. sort of meandering this season? Where's the melodrama? There's no David C. vs. David A. battle like there was last year. And the contestants seem to have less distinctive personalities. Even Paula and Simon have toned it down a notch.

7:12 PM  
Blogger lylee said...

I have to agree AI seems to have lost itself a little this year. I think a lot of the changes that were implemented this year - Kara, the wild card, the judges' save - are all signs the producers are just casting about (unsuccessfully) for ways to bring back some freshness. As for the lack of distinctive personalities (except for Adam, of coures!), it's still pretty early and some of them may come out of their shells - but yeah, I tend to thank last year's crop was more interesting and stylistically diverse.

5:02 AM  
Blogger jchensor said...

The funniest thing to me is that it feels like American Idol is still reeling from Sanjaya. Yeah, I said it. But I really think they are.

Letting the judges pick the last few contestants for the top 12, having the Judges save, etc. It all seems like it's just ways to make sure that someone who basically ends up being a "joke" doesn't make it far. In other words, they are trying to fight against the "Vote for the Worst" crowds.

And I think it is backfiring, Because I have no interest in anyone this season compared to lst year. Last year, I really felt sad every time a person got voted off, because everyone WAS so good. This year, I can barely find someone to get behind. I'm glad Kris' performance this week was so good, because I may have finally found someone I really wouldn't mind seeing win.

2:28 AM  
Blogger lylee said...

James - I absolutely agree with you. It's like the producers want as much control as possible over the results (as if they didn't have plenty of ways to tilt the playing field before!), which just decreases any feeling of audience investment. What's weird is I don't think the kids on average are significantly less talented than they were last year, but I too just don't care as much about them. And I don't even mean in comparison with David Cook. :-)

4:29 PM  
Blogger Coffee Maker said...

Adam Lambert will sign with some kind of record company no matter what happens after this Idol season is over

1:15 AM  

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