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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

American Idol, March 10 2009: I’ve Totally Lost That Loving Feeling

The Top 13 (aka, The Odd Mix of Nearly Worthy and Potentially Marketable Singing Hopefuls), will now plead their case to the people of America. “Please let me be a millionaire,” they say, “Please love me.”

I don’t. Not mostly, anyway. There are a handful of these folks who I think have the potential to hold my attention for more than a few minutes at a time. Unfortunately, with the theme tonight--the music of Michael Jackson--I wonder if the group will be able to hold my attention for the whole evening.

Not that I would be opposed to hearing the long version of “Thriller.” ‘Cause that was kind of awesome.

Lil Rounds, who sounds like the rejected and rotund character from a James Bond movie, decided to sing “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Which I hate. Of course, the number of Michael Jackson songs that I like could probably be counted on one hand with a few fingers left over for happy fun gesturing. Lil sounds fine, although the backup singers are doing what they can to undermine the song with a tissue-thin performance. It’s a good start to the show--her performance is strong, she held the audience, and she sang well. The judges, of course, love her like Fat Bastard loves KFC. Nicely done, although Paula heard angels at some point during the performance and makes us all wonder, once again, precisely what kind of drugs she’s mixing with her vodka. Simon reality checks the horrid outfit.

Can Scott “Art Garfunkel” Macintyre sing well enough to warrant his place in the show? I don’t think so unless you happen to be looking for the next light rock contemporary Christian pop star. Which I’m not. “Keep the Faith"--a song that I don’t know--is a good fit for his ambitions if they do happen to be somewhere down that particular path, though. The audience loves him with the love of a thousand sexless pre-teen idiots. The judges love him for his magical instrument. Or maybe that was just Paula. She has a strong love of many folks’ instruments, though. Simon says an accidental truth: “It’s fine being artistic, just not on this show.”

Good Lord, that might be more honesty than people can handle.

Randy thought it was good but not great. Which seems fair.

It would take a massive effort of will to dislike Danny Gokey. “PYT.” Good God, this is like slow torture for me. On the good side, Danny actually attacks the song with vigor and his surprisingly gruff voice. I still don’t like the song, but I still do like him, and I don’t mind so much when he sings it--and Darling Girl has a strange crush on him. Paula tells him, almost tearfully, to take it all in. I’m not sure what “it” is, but she’s very excited. Simon digs him with mad man love for his vocals, but things the overexcited dancing was hideous. Randy loved him even more. And Paula 2 (who, yeah, I know) says something, too. Which I ignore because I’m still trying to figure out if I should be jealous about Darling G’s newest love.

Michael Sarver, the nation’s favorite roughneck, is likable as hell, too. Michael Jackson wouldn’t seem like a natural fit for this guy, but he does the song ("You Are Not Alone") with something resembling not too horrible. Pitchy at points, not perfect, but not horrible, either. One of the “big” moments was almost painful, but the beginning was actually kind of pretty. Simon is right, he’s not even close to the best singer in the group. The judges are kind to him, but maybe more than he deserves. Randy called him one of the best of the night which simply isn’t true.

Still like the guy, though, and hope he sticks around for a bit.

Can Jasmine Murray stay in the show? She’s one of the folks who didn’t deserve the trip, so I’m rather hoping she doesn’t. And her performance tonight--all pitch problems and lackluster performance--doesn’t do much to change my mind. She has a potentially pretty voice, but her control isn’t quite there. She could use a few years of practice to smooth out the rough bits before being sold to the public. Paula actually said something smart with her faint praise and Simon’s lukewarm response is spot on. I really don’t think she’s worth the roster spot.

Useless Aside: Because I happen to love Nathan Fillion, I watched last night’s premier of Castle, and thought it was funny as hell. He’s got the rogue persona down to an art form and his relationship with both the detective and with his daughter made it a fun ride. Hope is sticks around longer than Firefly.

Kris Allen still seems like an afterthought to me. Marginally competent, reasonably cute, and hardly worth the pixels it will take to write this sentence. As I said last week: whatever. There is no doubt that the audience like him, though, in a big, bad, ugly way. Kara (okay, fine, I’ll use her real name) wants us to love him as much as she does, Paula says something horribly confusing, Simon gives him a mediocre review, and Randy gets all tongue tied in his short response. If I were cynical--and I am--I would say that they want the guy on the show purely because they feel that he has the potential to be a big seller of musical pablum to the pre-teen market.

There’s a little more talent and something to be found in Alison Iraheta, and it doesn’t hurt that she chooses a song that I’ve never heard. The sixteen year old digs into the song with her coarse voice and doesn’t once let a person like me think that this song has anything at all to do with Michael Jackson. She looks like a refugee from the eighties in her Pat Benatar gear, but that just means she’ll sell well to Reagan-era nostalgics like me.

The judges like her, too, although I don’t listen to them because Darling Girl has just make white chocolate, macadamia nut cookies. Which smell awesome.

Anoop Dogg barely deserved his place on the show, although I won’t complain too much since DG thinks he’s second only to Danny in the all-important likability department. I, of course, like that he and his parents embody the immigrant’s dream of America and because he chose “Beat It.” Hell, he even started with that little not-so-animalistic grunts like Michael Jackson did in the original. Which, I’m sure makes him all the more cute to the girls.

For that matter, he seems about as tough as MJ, too. The only thing that was missing was dancing, pimped out gang members to really bring out the campy fun of the original. Because, let’s be honest, there’s not much funnier than MJ playing the part of a badass.

The vocals may not have been the most original, but it was fun. Paula thinks it was a little worse than that. Simon breaks out the “k” word and says it was a little stupid--a bad impersonation of MJ. Randy hits him hard, too, for the lack of originality. Kara agrees, too. Simon goes so far as to say that he regrets making Anoop the extra contestant.

Ouch. Anoop Dogg could be in trouble, but I imagine that his basic, cuddly core will save the day.

Jorge Nuñez surprises me every time I hear his voice, and I mean that in a reasonably good way. Which isn’t to say that I would be buying one of his albums, but I think he’s a good bit better than a few of the others on the show and is a solid performer. I don’t think he can win the show, but he’s solid. The judges aren’t digging him tonight, though, even to the point that Paula broke out the not-quite-niceness and Simon said he was “corny and out of his depth.” Ouch.

Apparently I’m wrong about this one…

She’s adorable and she dances funny, but damned if I don’t have serious love for Megan. “Rockin’ Robin” might have been a horrible song choice, but she’s cute, she’s lively, she can sing, she’s playful, and she’s not afraid to be goofy in public. And, again, I dig the ink. Simon didn’t like it although he still wants to do naughty things to her.

I might have been projecting a bit there, so, yeah, sorry about that…

I think it was a bad song choice, too, but don’t care because I’m still thinking about voting for her.

I really like Adam Lambert most of the time, but I’m not sure about him tonight. His voice is still one of the standouts and he seems more comfortable in front of the audience than nearly any of the rest. But he seems even more effeminate than Michael Jackson, which is impressive. Paula makes him cry. Well, almost, anyway. The judges very obviously want him to have a good shot at winning, which I understand since this guy is ready to be packaged and sold.

Am I officially done with the show for the night? Do I even care what Matt Giraud does? I was hoping to maintain focus until Alexis showed up, but I’m already starting to feel it slipping away…

I like Alexis Grace’s voice and hope that she’ll be in the show ‘til close to the end. “Dirty Dianna” seems an odd choice at first, but damned if she doesn’t kick it out with aggressive vocals and a sexy performance. Kara says she’s a “naughty girl and I liked it.” Which might be what I was thinking, too--and which might lead to a less-than-critical eye (and ear) on her performance.

Whew. That was a long show.

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