Wednesday, February 27, 2008

American Idol: Women's semis, week two

Quick spoilers for tonight's "American Idol" coming up just as soon as I find my cargo shorts...
Again, I'm not going to do song-by-song analysis until at least next week, if not the finals. (If you want thoughts that are, as always, eerily similar to what I would write if I cared enough to do so, go read Fienberg.) A couple of thoughts, though:
  • For a group that's allegedly the most talented in "Idol" history, they sure put together a lousy night. Carly started off with what I thought was a middling Heart cover, and by the end of the evening, she seemed like one of the best. The only performance I felt unreservedly good about was Brooke the nanny's "You're So Vain," and even there I'm second-guessing how much of that was about the vocal and how much is my affection for the song, plus Brooke's infectious personality.
  • I've been a fan of Amanda Overmyer for most of this season. I don't know that she's a great singer, but she has real stage presence (and awesome pants), I love her influences (Janis, Grace Slick), and "Idol" has never had a woman contestant like her before. She's sort of like a female version of Bo (still my fave "Idol" ever), albeit not nearly as gifted vocally -- which could not have been more apparent during her butchering of "Carry On Wayward Son." It sounded like she had a cold or sore throat or something (she was noticeably better during the dress rehearsal footage they showed during the final montage), but even if she were fully healthy, I think that would have been a mess. Given that they put her on the seal with Joanne last week, I'm really worried for her. This competition needs variety -- how boring would it be if all the blonde Carrie clones made the finals? -- and I'm hopeful she'll survive a while still, if only because so many people were so terrible tonight.
  • Speaking of Bo, one of the many reasons I hate this shift to themed semi-finals (complete with what sounds like a very limited list of available songs) is that it makes it harder for the contestants to assert their talent and identity by picking a song they know they can kick ass on and that says "This is me, this is the kind of music I want to do." Think of Bo on "Whipping Post," or Elliott on "Moody's Mood For Love," or George Huff on "Lean On Me," or even Daughtry on "Hemorrhage" (a song that an "Idol" producer would never in a million years have thought to put on an approved song list if Daughtry hadn't done it first). While some of the contestants are getting to do songs they know and love (even if they're not brilliant at it, like Carly on "Crazy On You"), for the most part you can tell they've never heard of these numbers before and are struggling to connect with them. We're already stuck with the stupid themes once the finals start. One of the nicer things about the semis was the unpredictability of what kinds of songs you might hear. Way to ruin a good thing, producers.
What did everybody else think?


Bobman said...

I don't want to cry collusion too much, but Idol is really pimping Carly WAY too much (getting the last spot last week and the first spot this week), and even the judge's comments were a bit too flattering this week when I don't think she's done one impressive thing yet, and she just doesn't have that great a stage presence either.

I think my most disappointing this week were Amanda, because that Kansas song actually just feels like something she could have killed and she totally fell flat on; and Asia'h, who I thought had the best overall girl's performance last week (not necessarily the best vocal but the most engaging performance) and chose such a sappy, "old-fashioned" (to choose a Simon-ism), song this week.

Love Brooke, and I have no idea what makes her personality so infectious as you say, but it's definitely true.

J said...

Missed the opportunity to have Carly shoved down my throat, but the show was pretty listenable through the Syesha-Brooke-Ramielle portion (though no one really impressed, they're all just likeable). The rest was pretty awful. No one should ever, ever sing while walking down stairs.

And sorry, the only thing Overmyer gives me is the urge to ask for the check.

Anonymous said...

people....Amanda has screaming talent only. Having great influences and looking great does not sell albums. I don't know anyone who would buy her album...I knew someone once who had a ferret with more musical talent.


K J Gillenwater said...

Amanda was just plain awful...from the hair to the clothes to the singing. I fast-forwarded through the latter half of her performance, because it hurt my ears so much.

I wanted Ramiel to be better this week and Alex.

The blonde girls all blend together.

This is the part of the competition when I start wondering who in the heck is going to be in the top 12? Because I don't think there are enough good singers.

They need to stop this weird decade thing...unless that means for freedom for the singers to choose songs in the final 12. Let's hope so...

Eric Fingerhut said...

I didn't notice Amanda being better during the montage at the end, but are you sure about that? Since tonight's show was not live but taped, why would they have needed to use the dress rehearsal footage for the montage? They had plenty to time to cut the real footage together

Nicole said...

That was really bad. The guys seemed much stronger this week in comparison. Definitely no memorable performance.
I am thankful for Simon who acurately called Amanda on her "look" versus actually rock ability, and for telling Aisha that she is not in the same league as Celine. (When you can't do a lower register, belting it out at the end doesn't make up for it.)

Kady was complete garbage and has got to go. There are still too many blonde 17 year olds that are indistinguishable and boring.

I don't hate Carly, and right she needs to stay because although she hasn't blown us away, she has the potential to do so.

dark tyler said...

If Kelly Clarkson had done one of the Amanda-Songs she would have wiped the floor with her. The absolute only reason Amanda is still there is because she looks the part better than singing it.

And sorry, the only thing Overmyer gives me is the urge to ask for the check.

J, man, I have this urge to high five you right now, and follow it with a snap of the fingers and a Todd-esque "Overmyer five".

Alan Sepinwall said...

I didn't notice Amanda being better during the montage at the end, but are you sure about that?

She still had all the off-key problems, but her voice didn't sound nearly as hoarse as it did during the show, I thought.

Since tonight's show was not live but taped, why would they have needed to use the dress rehearsal footage for the montage? They had plenty to time to cut the real footage together

You make a good point. For all I know, I may have been imagining it -- or maybe they use the dress rehearsal footage anyway because it's what they always do for the rest of the season.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I don't want to cry collusion too much, but Idol is really pimping Carly WAY too much (getting the last spot last week and the first spot this week)

I believe that's SOP, especially in the semi-finals, to put the previous week's last person first, and to put as many people as possible who performed in the back half of the previous show into the front, and vice versa.

The unfortunate thing is that Carly deserved the pimp spot a whole lot more this week than last.

Tom O'Keefe said...

Why was this week taped? I thought this show was always live?

And, I'm sorry Alan, but Amanda is horrible. As some that has booked bands (both of the "bar" and "national" variety) you can find someone like Amanda in just about any biker bar any night of the week.

And her hair was horrible. It looked like the Lion King and Ursula from The Little Mermaid had a baby.

That being said, I hope she stays. It's a great trainwreck to watch. She's not the female equivalent of Bo Bice...she's the "rocker" equivalent of Jon Stevens. ;)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Why was this week taped? I thought this show was always live?

The semi-finals, and sometimes the first week or two of the finals, are taped hours or even a day in advance to give the producers the chance to edit what could be a very long show down into the usual timeslot. The elimination episodes are always live, though.

And, yes, I'm aware that you can find dozens, maybe hundreds, of Amandas singing in bars around the country. But the show's never had anybody like her before, and I'd rather have someone unique -- even if her singing is often lousy -- than have all the Carrie clones make it through.

Adam said...

But Amanda is no Dilana. She could rock.

Alan Sepinwall said...

No, she's not a Dilana. Nor a Storm Large, for that matter. (Storm roolz.) But I like the idea of her, and I've liked some of her previous performances.

leor said...

interesting that these episodes are pre-taped, i wasn't aware of that! i didn't catch the montage, but i highly doubt they use dress rehearsal footage for their montages.

this past summer, i worked on Canadian Idol, and every episode from top 22 to the final was live, and dress footage was never part of the show.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Dress rehearsal footage has always been part of the montage at the end of the live finals shows, simply because there isn't time to edit together all the performances on the spot. You'll notice from time to time that the quality of the live performance varies wildly from what's in the montage, whether it's someone botching lyrics one time and getting them right the other, struggling to hit a note one time but hitting it the other, etc.

Anonymous said...

This was mostly just a hot mess. Brooke was really good (I love her) and I liked Carly. I like Carly in general. I get the feeling some people (not just here) don't like her because she seems to be a favorite among TPTB and the judges. Maybe some viewers are just sick of seeing/hearing about her?

The rest could have taken the night off and the show would have been fine. And a lot shorter. I found myself getting restless after 45 minutes, which didn't happen on this week's guys night.

I like Amanda, but I was embarrassed for her this week. I can't imagine what she was thinking.

There are a few I like, even though they were bad last night. I don't remember what Asia'h sang last week, but I know that I liked it, so I hope she stays around, despite how awful "All By Myself" was. Ramiele has some talent. I would like to see her get another chance too.

And who dressed these women? Almost all of them looked terrible. "Cargo pants" indeed, Alan.

Nicole said...

I have pretty much stayed away from the TWoP AI boards this year so I am not so concerned about the "pimping" or "TCO" status of Carly, because David A has already surpassed it. I also didn't really watch the audition shows except maybe for the last 2 Hollywood ones, where they did seem to focus on Carly more than the rest. I suspect the "conspiracies" come from discussion on those types of sites.

Outside of the audition shows, I don't think Carly has been pimped any more than Brooke or Ramiele.

And it doesn't matter because none of the girls were that memorable last night. One of the Carrie clones needs to go. I don't even care which one.

leor said...

alan, are you sure about them using dress footage in the montage? i find it hard to believe that Canadian Idol is able to edit the montages on the spot, and American Idol can't. here in Canada, they record the whole show into a server and edit it throughout the show, and it's ready by the end. i would have thought they do the same thing in the US!

Davy said...

maura wrote: "I like Amanda, but I was embarrassed for her this week. I can't imagine what she was thinking."

Ten seconds into her song, my boyfriend turned to me and said, "She looks like she's still pissed for what their stylists did to her hair."

Still, I'm glad to have her around. She's sounded good before, and I think if she can find the right song she could sound good again. Trouble is finding the right song on these theme nights with only 50 songs to choose from.

I also remember hearing from previous seasons about how the final montages were from the dress rehearsals -- especially during live shows due to the last singer airing so closely to the montage. I've noticed differences in that final performance in previous seasons, but not yet in this one.

If you remember last week's exit show, you could tell the performance shows were taped because Joanne slipped up when describing how hard it had been, and said something like, "Sunday... I mean yesterday was a hard day for all of us."

I think they're pimping Carly and David, but no more so than they were Melinda this time last year. And look how that turned out. (I thought Carly's "Crazy on You" was pretty nice, btw).

Anonymous said...

This season's Idol just makes me miss Rockstar all the more.

I'd trade every Carrie Clone and forgettable male for one Marty Casey, Dilana, Jordis or JD.

Heck, even the crappy singers on Rockstar had more personality than most of the contestants on this go round of AI.

Anonymous said...

ITA with mrsbradley...I didn't watch the Supernova version of RockStar, but I did watch the INXS version. Every one of those contestants has more stage presence (and most have better singing voices) than this year's Idol contestants.

It's weird...I like the idea of Amanda in this as well...but she either won't or can't really do her thing, b/c it's not very Idol like. If she's different and tries to be the rocker she wants to be, they criticize her for doing the Joplin thing (which I think she's very good at, by the way). If she tries to move away from that, she's just sounding very weird. I hope she does better this week -- she was a complete mess singing Kansas. If she can only do the Joplin thing, then she's no American Idol.

I just watched some of the Utubes of Dilana -- holy hell she's amazing!!!