Wednesday, March 03, 2010

American Idol: She-woman man-haters club

A review of last night's "American Idol" coming up just as soon as I rocks the onesie...

So the men and women had to switch nights this week to accommodate for Crystal Bowersox's ailment, and while I like Crystal enough that I wouldn't want to lose her from the competition for a non-voting reason, I also do wonder if the show would have gone to this much trouble for someone who isn't an obvious frontrunner.

But while I worried that the last-minute switch would be one stumbling block too many for the uninspiring field of male contestants, the guys didn't seem too hurt by having to push up their performances a day. Most of them were significantly better than they were last week, especially Alex Lambert, who used his guitar as a kind of security blanket to get over the uncomfortable stage fright he had last week.

On the other hand, none of them was exactly looking like the next "American Idol," were they? I expect Casey James and Andrew Garcia to go far in the competition, but mostly the improvement between the weeks had the guys going from awful to competent but bland.

And the judges aren't invested in any of them, giving them conflicting advice from week-to-week. Tyler Grady was awful last week and deserved to go home, but he had a point that the judges attacked him for doing the exact same thing they claimed to love in Hollywood. And I'm baffled by what they're doing to Andrew, where they're holding his Hollywood success against him in a way I've never heard them treat another contestant. Last week, they complained that they were already tired of his acoustic rearrangements - even though many viewers had never heard them before (and certainly not as often or as at length as the judges had) - and then when he switched things up this week, they basically told him to go back to doing more things like "Straight Up."

On the plus side, Ellen was much livelier and more willing to criticize than she was last week. Putting her in between Randy and Kara helped, because she always seems more comfortable when she doesn't have to lead off the discussion, particularly if they're discussing someone who was bad.

What did everybody else think?

19 comments:

Sirfuller said...

Alex Lambert needs to trim that mullet

amysusanne said...

Still completely baffled by the judges all over the place "judging" (change it, don't change it, no karaoke, sing it straight, mix it up, make it your own, DON'T CHANGE THE SONG!), but it was an improvement over last week, both the contestants and the judges. Still, boring, but not painful.

He wasn't exactly bad this week (and was much better than last week) but I'm guessing poor John Park is going home tomorrow because he has zero personality. He's cute, okay voice, seems like a nice guy, but yikes. I didn't realize it before because we haven't seen that much of him, but it was just hard to watch last night. Whatshisface kid who sang "My Girl" might go with him.

Anonymous said...

While I have to agree that this week was much better for the guys than last week, I still am not seeing anyone who jumps off the screen that says.... I am a star. On the guys side, it's still Lee's competition to lose, though Big Mike has the type of personality that can get you far.

As for the judges, while as a group they did seem better than last week, I am still not getting the whole Ellen thing. No question she is a star, and a talented entertainer in her own right. But in this setting she is cringe worthy. With no musical background to speak of, she comes across as someone who has no idea how to critique a performance. Her comments carry no weight, and bring nothing to the table constructively for the contestants. It seems to me that they look at her with an "are you kidding me" look while waiting to hear from people who know music. All she is doing is taking up valuable time from the other judges. She even has done the impossible.....making Kara somewhat likeable and worth listening to. Just imagine how the flow and chemistry would change if she was gone and the other three were left to judge.

Dan said...

Casey James is NOT good. I don't understand the love for him. He wants to be a rocker, but there's just no depth to his voice. Simon was dead-on last night when he said that Casey's voice doesn't have any grit... he completely lacks the growl that you always hear in a good rock voice.

And the judges aren't just inconsistent from show to show anymore on what they want to hear (an original take on a song versus a cover)... now they're inconsistent from one contestant to the next. Randy has gotten especially bad about this.

Jill Mader said...

I agree about Ellen, she seemed a lot more comfortable critiquing performances this week. I thought it was a pretty boring show. And apparently I'm the only person on earth who liked Todrick's performance!

Jill (couchtimewithjill.blogspot.com)

Sirfuller said...

Casey James should focus on singing country. His voice is perfect for the Rascal Flatts style country.

usty said...

@Jill - I thought Todrick's peformances both weeks have been pretty good. I actually really liked his arrangement of What's Love this week. The drum breakdown part in the middle was really good and he actually had some energy.

The judges all over the place between contestants is craziness this year. They're giving awful advice to Andrew and Todrick.

But what continually baffles me is their obsession with Lee DeWyze. Simon telling him his voice is leaps and bounds above everyone else is INSANITY. Apparently Simon has never seen a Jersey-shore cover band, because every single one of them is fronted by guys who look and sound like Lee DeWyze.

Kevin said...

Do we know what the deal with Bowersox is? I'm going on the theory that she had an allergic reaction to shampoo and Crest White Strips.

LA said...

I agree with @usty. I find Lee DeWyze barely tolerable, yet they gave him the pimp spot and sang his praises to the rooftops. I don't get it.

Big Mike is really starting to grow on me.

John Park is going home.

Andrew said...

I had the TV on for Alex Mulletbert's performance, but wasn't watching. And he sounded great. His voice had a nice tone, the performance was smooth and controlled and interesting. Then I turned to the screen and seeing this kid with a mullet performing without any stage presence took away tremendously from overall impression. Stopped watching again and the quality of the performance seemed better. If this kid loses the mullet and gets a bit more comfortable on stage, he could do well in this competition (under the Idol rewards development theory). Or he could be out next week before developing anything.

I may already be done. None of the contestants are particularly compelling on their own, and without that element, the flaws of the show stand out more. The backing band plays impeccably, but adds absolutely no energy to the performances and the judges are neither entertaining nor insightful. Aren't their insights supposed to help us, the audience, figure out what makes one decent singer a pop star instead of another? I know that these are the same issues Idol has had for years, but this season just isn't working for me, dawg.

Hollywoodaholic said...

I heard Cowell's brother Tony on a radio program this morning explain that Crystal had to go to the hospital for an event related to her type 1 diabetes. But that she would be ready to perform tonight. The show definitely needs her, and I'm impressed that she can now officially be called a 'showstopper.'

Hyde said...

I think they are promoting Lee Dewyze because Chris Daughtry, and to a lesser extent David Cook, are the only big male successes American Idol has had the last several years (OK, I guess Adam qualifies on some level too), and they see Lee as the only contestant this season they can promote in that vein. I don't think he has the voice or the charisma, personally, but the "midwestern bar rocker" thing will probably earn him at least another month.

Agree with Sirfuller that Casey James is missing an opportunity by not going all out country, but I think he should identify himself more with a Waylon Jennings-like persona than Rascal Flatts. Aaron Kelly wants to think of himself as country, but seriously, who is a country audience more likely to buy in that role?

Craig Ranapia said...

On the plus side, Ellen was much livelier and more willing to criticize than she was last week.

I still don't get why she's pulling her punches, because she's shown she's entirely capable of offering a critique without being snide and bitchy about it. She doesn't have to be -- and I don't anyone wants her to be -- the new Simon Cowell.

Flap Jackson said...

The problem that I see with this season is that it feels like Canadian Idol.

What do I mean by that? The judges have no chemistry and feel like fish flopping around in an enviroment they don't want to be in.

The contestants also have very little talent this year, expcially the guys. Casey James wouldn't make it to the top 5 on Canadian Idol. The man plays a good guitar, but he sings like he's playing Rock Band or something. If he's one of your better talents this year, the show has a real problem this season.

Overall, this season is NOT good.

Daniel said...

I can't take anymore butchering of Marvin Gaye or Tina Turner. These are awful, awful, awful performances.

Ian said...

I thought Lee's vocal was the best of the night, but that's not saying much since David Cook, Chris Daughtry, or Bo Bice would wipe the floor with him.

And although I'm not a fan of Todrick (his voice just isn't there) I thought his arrangement was in line with the sorts of things David Cook and Adam Lambert (and to an extent Blake Lewis) were routinely praised for. The judges are so inconsistent it borders on useless.

Navin said...

Has anyone else noticed that Alex Lambert has the exact same haircut as Carol Brady?

Just sayin'.

Frederick said...

the judges criticism of Andrew Garcia after being one of the best last night is going to get one of the top contenders this season kicked off before the top 12. Hacks like Tim Urban are let off the hook and will be carried on by his good looks and votes from silly young girls. I am disgusted in the judges negative handling of him Garcia and weak praise of Urban. Why not say to Garcia dude you are a great singer - didn't love the song choice but you have great pipes and are one of the ones to beat this season... just infuriating.

Nick said...

Here's what I don't understand: Why do these contestants pay /any/ attention to what the judges say? It's about getting votes, and the ones who do well are the ones that just do their thing and don't try to please Simon. Pleasing Simon gets you nothing. Being yourself and authentic gets you votes.