Tuesday, March 04, 2008

American Idol: Men's semis, week three

The final week of the men's half of the "American Idol" semi-finals was both brief enough and good enough that I have a bit more to say than usual. Spoilers coming up just as soon as I go to Whole Foods...

Gonna take this bullet points-style:
  • This was the first time this season where all the "Best talent ever" hype actually felt justified. Luke Menard is obviously going home, but I have no idea who the other bootee might be, and at least half the performers had a reasonable argument for the pimp spot. When Archuleta -- who's going to win this season in a walk -- is in the middle of the pack at best for the night, you know it was good.
  • My guesses for bootee #2: one of Danny Noriega (who gave us the most flamboyant performance in "Idol" history and then was tres bitchy with Simon), David Hernandez (who followed up today's gay stripper scandal with a performance of a song everyone associates with Celine Dion) and Chikezie (good vocals, but bland).
  • How does David Hernandez come up with a Most Embarrassing Moment Ever story that involves photos and yet doesn't involve gay stripping?
  • Jason Castro is either perpetually stoned or very, very dumb. Or both. But he did a great job with Ryan Atwood's theme song.
  • I'm hoping that David Cook's rock version of "Hello" was totally his own composition (ala Blake on "You Give Love a Bad Name") and not a carbon copy of some emo band (ala Chris Daughtry's "Walk the Line"). I enjoy those rare moments of real musicianship on "Idol," as it reminds me of "Rock Star."
  • For a guy who's one of the show's most seasoned performers ever, Michael Johns seems to have only that one move on-stage where he bounces back and forth and raises his non-mic hand. That said, his version of the "Breakfast Club" song was a vast improvement over the last two weeks when he was coasting. Again, Archuleta's going to roll through this season like Taylor or Carrie did (I'll be stunned if he ever hits bottom three), but if Johns can ever put it all together, he can at least make things as interesting (if non-competitive) as Bo made season four.
What did everybody else think?

24 comments:

Alap said...

i want david archuleta to win because he gave exposure to people who don't have things.

Linda said...

Archuleta, I agree, is going to win the entire season easily -- it's the most obvious foregone conclusion in the show's history. However, he has a terminal case of earnestness, and I'm not sure he will live that long. Like, what's more PAINFULLY earnest than "Imagine"? "Another Day In Paradise," is what. He can't top himself next week unless he does a monologue as the therapist in Good Will Hunting.

Michael Johns underwhelmed me, which...I tend to agree with Simon that it's kind of puzzling, because I think he's really talented, but he hasn't found the zone yet.

Jason Castro? Whatever. He's breath-for-breath trying to imitate Jeff Buckley, and to me, everything that was effective about it is stuff he stole. I mean, he can sing, which I get, but there's nothing new there, artistically. I consider the Jeff Buckley version of that song to be one of the greatest records of all time, so hearing somebody try to ape it that closely is really off-putting to me.

I was chatting with two friends at the time David Hernandez's "most embarrassing moment" came on, and for real, all three of us made stripping-related jokes at the same time. That poor dear.

j-bird said...

How does David Hernandez come up with a Most Embarrassing Moment Ever story that involves photos and yet doesn't involve gay stripping?

THAT'S FUNNY!!!!

Adam said...

Alan, here's my favorite cover of "Hello". About double-speed of what David did.

J said...

Like, what's more PAINFULLY earnest than "Imagine"? "Another Day In Paradise," is what. He can't top himself next week unless he does a monologue as the therapist in Good Will Hunting.

I don't we've seen him cry, yet.

But it would be awesome if, throughout a gushy rendition of "In the Ghetto" (dedicated beforehand to his ailing grandmother, our troops overseas, and everyone in Somalia), they wheeled blind invalids on stage for Archuleta to heal with his touch.

I don't think Castro's Cohen cover was a total dupe of Buckley's; it wasn't distinctive, though. I like him, but meh.

"Hello" rocked. Did not see that coming. Good for Charisma-Suck Boy.

La g├╝era said...

Jason Castro is nice to look at, nice voice, but d-u-m dumb. And his most embarrassing moment? To stay with the night's theme: gag me with a spoon.

Did anyone catch what Simon said at the end of David's song--when he didn't know his mic was live?

Luke is gone to perform on a cruise ship somewhere.

Fred App said...

I like Michael Johns, but I wasn't impressed by his performance, and he sounded like he was singing in a different key than the band during the bridge. More embarrassing than that, though, was Randy thinking he was singing an INXS song, not a Simple Minds song. Yo, dawg, Australia and Scotland aren't even close to each other.

David Cook had the best performance of the evening, and I so wasn't expecting it. I don't even like him very much, probably because of that Constantine vibe you mentioned. But you gotta give the guy his props. He worked it out tonight.

Kristin said...

I would have bought David Cook's version of "Hello" if it were available. It was that good.

I'm sorta sad thinking that might never happen...

I have not deleted the show yet from my TiVO, because I want to listen to it again.

That rarely happens for me on AI. And never this early in the season.

I missed David A.'s performance b/c my power went out. Only got to hear the recap. He's good, but his earnestness might earn him a ticket home. Remember Melinda Doolittle? I think many thought she was a lock to win...and then she started to lose her shine.

David Cook just really impressed me tonight.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I would have bought David Cook's version of "Hello" if it were available. It was that good.

If you have iTunes, it'll be available tomorrow.

And Melinda didn't lose her shine; she just came across as way too old for a show where tweens (and, to a lesser extent, grannies) drive the voting. Archuleta is the perfect storm: young, cute but non-threatening, good voice, painfully sincere, apparently humble, etc.

J said...

Doolittle was too good for this show.

Nicole said...

Was Randy locked in a studio for the entire 80s? How could he confuse INXS with Simple Minds?

Dark Tyler said...

When Saint David dedicated the song to all the people who don't have a TV to watch him on American Idol or something, I was throwing things on my computer screen. I would so pay money if TMZ were to expose some Saint David-related scandal. We're talking serious money here, people, get moving.

I hope Danny doesn't go because he makes for great TV. His "mmm-hm" to Ryan was more entertaining that the rest of the show put together. Or at least if he goes then, you know, he gets a recurring role on Ugly Betty or something.

Freckles said...

"Jason Castro? Whatever. He's breath-for-breath trying to imitate Jeff Buckley, and to me, everything that was effective about it is stuff he stole."

Agreed. It was completely Jeff Buckley. It was a good Buckley impression, but it did not tell us anything about what kind of singer Castro is.

Danny WOULD be great on Ugly Betty. Except doesn't he already play the role of the role of Betty's nephew?

lnc said...

Did anyone catch what Simon said at the end of David's song--when he didn't know his mic was live?
TMZ says:

"After his rendition of "All Coming Back to Me Now," Simon can be heard telling the other judges to "say I liked the way you stripped it down.""

How does David Hernandez come up with a Most Embarrassing Moment Ever story that involves photos and yet doesn't involve gay stripping?

Yeah, gay stripping is extra-embarassing isn't it? So much worse than straight stripping. I'm curious what photos have to do with being a gay stripper? Are you assuming because he gay-stripped, he also has some gay photos (would these be photos of him decorating?) that are going to surface as well?

Kristin said...

Thanks, Alan! I am off to iTunes to download it. Yay!!!

David A. is too earnest and too smiley. He has a great voice...but did anyone else get turned off by that clip a week ago of him singing to the season 1 Idol finalists? It smacked of precocious child singer with one of those stage moms urging him on. Gave me a squick kinda feeling about him.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yeah, gay stripping is extra-embarassing isn't it? So much worse than straight stripping.

Stripping in general is kind of embarrassing, actually.

I'm curious what photos have to do with being a gay stripper?

Because photos of him at the strip club surfaced yesterday.

lnc said...

Stripping in general is kind of embarrassing, actually.
Thank you for letting us know that. Some people might have been under the foolish notion that as long as stripping is legal, it's a legitimate way to make a living and not something to feel shamed about.

You can spin it any way you like, but you came off like a jackass when you said "gay stripping". You clearly think that's extra-embarassing, due to the gay factor, or you wouldn't have felt the need to describe it that way.

People may find that nitpicky but that's kind of the point about this casual type of homophobia - it's so ingrained, people don't even notice they are doing it.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Thank you for letting us know that.

And thanks for letting me know how the world works and how homophobic I am. I feel far more enlightened now.

Kristin said...

Well, there's definitely a difference between stripping in a gay bar and stripping a la Chippendales.

Just curious...is there even such a thing as a lesbian strip club?

What I don't get is that it was okay for Nikki McKibbin and David Hernandez to work as strippers, but not ok for Frenchie Davis to be seen topless on some website? Strange.

Anonymous said...

"Well, there's definitely a difference between stripping in a gay bar and stripping a la Chippendales."

umm. no.

Kristin said...

Anonymous...I meant the perception of the outside world. Chippendales...you're dancing for women...and we know what the other type of dancing environment means.

Sorry to say, but the first thing that ran through my mind was..."does that mean David H. is gay?"

Guess I will now be lumped into the homophobe basket with Alan.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Guess I will now be lumped into the homophobe basket with Alan

Yay! Company! Can we make a mix CD together or something?

tom said...

My first thought seeing David Cook was that he went to the Chris Daughtry school of re-arranging. I think Cook borrowed pretty heavily from the Incubus version of "Hello"

mrsbbradley said...

Can't wait to see what the ladies do tonight.

I'm hoping Amanda will pick (be allowed) to sing Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart", which I think she could just kill (in the good way).

The Carrie clones are so going to stink tonight....