Wednesday, March 12, 2008

American Idol Top 12: Elimination

Brief as possible spoilers for the first elimination show of the "American Idol" finals coming up just as soon as I pop my collar...

Thank God for DVRs, as they allow me to watch these heinous Wednesday monstrosities in 10 minutes or less. Bullet-points:
  • I figured the forgettable Syesha would be in more trouble than the truly bad David Hernandez (or even Kristy Lee), but I have no problem with David's elimination. He was capable of better (his "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" was one of the stronger semi-final performances from either gender), but I didn't like his song choices, and his "I Saw Her Standing There" was a real fiasco, especially from a guy who took a college course on the Fab Four.
  • The bulk of the 10 minutes I watched consisted of the group-sing -- the first I've experienced this season, and as heinous as I remember from seasons past. No one knows their cue (Michael Johns seemed to randomly drift from girl to girl, never sure who he was supposed to be dueting with), none of the voices blended together, and it made me want to spin up my entire Beatles collection to cleanse myself of that mess.
  • The other five minutes or so went to Katharine McPhee's not so triumphant return. I'll forgive the contestants for muffing lyrics to a certain degree -- the producers work them like dogs and they have only a week to learn songs (many for the first time) -- but a trained veteran of sorts like Kat, shouldn't have been screwing up the lyrics to one of the greatest love songs ever written. It's "You know I believe and how," not "You I know I believe him now" (even allowing for the gender switch). The fact that she did it three different times made me wonder if David Foster or some other idiot rewrote the thing, but either way it bugged me. Also bugging me: Kat sucking all the feeling out of what is, again, a masterpiece. From what I remember of Kat during her season (when I liked her), she wasn't a belter and didn't have extraordinary tone to her voice, but she was really good when she could connect to the emotions, like her "Over the Rainbow" or even "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree." This was a Fembot version of "Something," and while Kat's pretty enough to be a Fembot, her voice isn't special enough to get away with that on this song.
What did everybody else think? And how awkward were all the Jim Carrey appearances I kept fast-forwarding past?


J said...

Governor Spitzer clearly should have considered his song choice harder.

More Beatle butchering next week! And a group sing to "Revolution 9!"

Nicole said...

The most interesting part of this show was Seacrest announcing that even more Beatles songs will be butchered. It's almost as if there is an expiry date for them to access the songs. And I hate to say it, but I don't think it was the songs that boosted the numbers. I think more people are watching because there are still a lot of reruns on television, and the Archuleta factor. I think some were concerned he might be kicked off.

I checked DialIdol, and he seems to be the only one for which they can provide numbers... everyone else was tied 2 to 12... so that's not much accuracy.

I suspect Kat messed up because she too is not familiar with Beatles songs. She was very pretty and could carry a tune, which got her pretty far.

Oh yeah, and stripper Dave is gone. Kristy, say goodbye next week.

Nicole said...

I forgot to add... my favourite moment:

Ryan: "Simon, do you think Syesha deserves to be in the bottom three?"

Simon: "Yes"

Ryan: [pauses] "Moving on.."

Gotta love Simon.

The Schneid said...

living on the west coast, i'm glad you posted after the show aired out there, so i don't have to waste one of the two tuners on my DVR. was going to tape it to see how awkward the Jim Carrey parts were but you've changed my mind.

Off topic but can't wait to watch South Park and thanks for clearing up Slim's roll.

Anonymous said...

Could the opening number have been any more of a mess? These people can't even fake it well. Is it too early to put them all in the car and have them sing?

Anyone notice how Michael Johns has zero dance capability? It was funny watching him try to keep a beat.

Why put us through listening to the worst top three singers again when we would rather hear a repeat of best top three?

Can't believe we're going to have another week of them barn butchering the beatles. Oy.

Undercover Black Man said...

I only popped in to watch Kat McPhee's "Something," Kristy's re-do of "Eight Days a Week" (better sung than last night), and the final eliminations.

Funny thing about "Something"... especially in light of all the discussion about the "armchair" lyric. George Harrison's line "You know I believe, and how" is considered one of the worst lyrics of all times; I think that's official. So people are always changing it.

Kat's variation: "You know I believe him now."

My fave variation, from Screaming Headless Torsos: "You know I believe anyhow."

Michael said...

So now they make all of the bottom three sing? Hopefully that's just a time-filler. Making us watch the three lowest-voted performances again is pretty mean. Fortunately I DVR'd it so I could fast-forward most of it.

Anonymous said...

Katharine McPhee's performance of "Something" was a whole lot better than anything I've heard from this group so far this year. She looked beautiful, and sounded amazing. These 6 girls in the top 12 should have been taking notes, because that, ladies, is how it's done.

K J Gillenwater said...

I, too, am glad for the TiVO. I fastforward through everything and just get to the bottom 3. I listened to 5 seconds of Kat McPhee. It was truly awful. She's all pretty, but no substance.

David H. deserved to go. That song was really bad. I hope Kristy does better next week..but I think her 'Carrie Underwood' vibe is turning a lot of people off. Why do all the country singers have to be cute blondes with long hair? Just strange.

More Beatles? Wonder what 25 songs they'll have to choose from next week?

Bobman said...

More Beatles next week.

I think Idol found a third option out of the two you mentioned in your column - sabotage. They realized Archuleta was a ringer, found something he was horrible at, and threw it at him two weeks in a row.

Also, I found this bit from ETOnline a bit disturbing :

Jeff Archuleta reportedly yelled at his "Idol" son on Monday, and he is said to have a history of losing it when David competed on "Star Search" at age 12.

K J Gillenwater said...

bobman, no surprise on David A's dad. Not at all. The minute they explained that he grew up in Utah, and his dad was from is the curious nature of many Mormon families to push their kids to succeed in ALL areas - school, music, drama, sports. David A. is no different.

The home video from a few weeks back when he sang in for the first season of American Idol confirmed he is the product of stage parents.

Anonymous said...

Alan, I disagree with your assessment on Kat's performance with David Foster. I thought it was BEAUTIFULLY done - and I hope Ramiele was taking notes on how to make a simple song amazing (part of that is thanks to the arrangement, but Kat's delivery as well).

I heard the first 15 seconds of the group sing and prompty fast forwarded. UGH.

I did like when Kristy Lee Cook was about to sing - she looked at Simon and joked, "I'm sorry you have the hear it again!"

Cinnette said...

I have to say while I loved Kat during her season, I thought that sucked last night. For real.

I am not looking forward to more Beatles songs being ruined next week.

Anonymous said...

If anyone else but David Archuleta would have TWICE forgotten the lyrics and had as shaky a vocal performance as he did, the judges would have hammered him enough to at least put him in the bottom 3.He got off way too easy this week.

I hope his little fan club doesn't carry him all year, especially on the nights that he may actually deserve to go. Unlike you Alan my man, I'm not sold on this kid yet.I look at him and feel like he should be on one of those Nickelodeon sitcoms for kids, not some pop star.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Unlike you Alan my man, I'm not sold on this kid yet.

People seem to be mistaking my unwavering conviction that Archuleta's going to win with my believing he's the best singer, or the one who's going to have the most successful recording career.

I can think of maybe a half dozen current contestants whose performances overall I've enjoyed more than Young David's, and I think Cook, Jason and Brooke all fit better into today's music scene, depending on how they're marketed.

But for this show? Little dude's the perfect storm.

Anonymous said...

Here's a tip for everyone: Whenever you get puzzled by the voting results, just tell yourself "12-year-old girls are doing the voting". While I enjoy each season (some more than others) and think this is a good group, that one fact will help explain whatever voting inconsistencies pop up.

David A. could have a bad week but he's this group's sweetheart and won't be immediately banished to the bottom three. It's still his competition to lose. It's the same reason why every year non-Idol fans say "Oh, that girl made tbe top 12 because she's pretty." No, she made it DESPITE being pretty. Twelve-year-olds don't like pretty older girls, so it's not a benefit to look too good unless you can outsing everyone. If they're "sexless" during their time on the show and wear nothing "skanky", like Carrie, Kelly, and Kat, plus have great voices, then they have a chance. Otherwise, you're much better off looking like David.