This week's ramblings on American Idol, as first posted to Facebook and then here:
:: I think it would be neat to see an episode of CSI: Miami where absolutely nothing happens in slow motion, where Horatio Caine makes eye contact with people when he's talking to them, and where Calleigh doesn't walk around with her blouse unbuttoned down to...well, let's not get crazy, here. First two are fine.
(Oh, sorry, that has nothing to do with IDOL. But I liked it after I said it, so here it is.)
:: Shania Twain night on Idol. Hmmmm...they really should have done Country Night earlier in the competition, since country night usually yields some pretty good performances. Might've helped some lackluster contestants out. Giddy-up!
(Usually "Country Night" happens when there are nine or ten contestants left, which is usually good because every year some of the contestants come from a much more country background than pop, and Country Night usually buys a contestant or two a few extra weeks. It's usually not devoted to a single country artist's songbook, either.)
:: Lee: He's singing a lot of notes outright flat. I still hate his voice. Will Randy tell him he was "pitchy", which he is? And now Lee's embracing his inner Siobhan, doing lots of shouting and man-screeching. Didn't like it.
And then:: Randy said he was a "little pitchy" at the beginning. He was pitchy all the way through it. Lee is this year's David Archuleta -- he can sing like crap and then get told he's doing no wrong at all.
At this point, my personal deck is so stacked against Lee that I'm probably unfair to the guy, but this is all about opinions, and I just don't like him one bit. And this week he was singing notes flat all the way through his song, and still, everyone praised him. Talk about a guy who makes every song sound the same...I think my David Archuleta comparison is pretty apt. The judges were all but ready to hand Archuleta the title the year he was on, even though all he did was one ballad after another. Lee's cut from the same cloth. Lee also decided this week that since nobody's ever going to tell Siobhan to stop screeching her high notes, he should go ahead and scream and screech his, too. His "big notes" sounded awful and unpleasant.
:: Mike: OK, I suppose. Didn't hate it (like I did Lee's), but it didn't blow me away. Ellen compares him to Luther Vandross, when blogger Ken Levine said two weeks ago that Mike makes EVERY song sound like a Luther Vandross song.
An hour later, I have little memory of what Mike did. It made no impression at all, other than it didn't outright suck.
:: Casey: This is better than last week. And he's better than Mike and Lee thus far. He's got an actual country voice and he's making it sound like a country song (I'm looking at you, Mike), and his high notes sound SUNG instead of SCREAMED (I'm looking at you, Lee).
Casey is officially my second favorite contestant of the remaining six.
:: Crystal: She Who Can Do No Wrong. She sounds SO authentic, no matter what she sings. She is Teh Awesome.
Loved her. I don't know the song she did, but she did a country version of the song that actually sounded like Country, and not Annoying Rockabilly, either.
:: Simon Cowell's contribution to the odd round of criticism aimed at Crystal might as well have started out with, "Pahdon me while I place my own head up my own arse."
Simon babbled a bit about how she sounded like a singer in a coffee shop band. Why that's bad, I don't know -- Simon's apparent belief that the only musicians worth a damn in this world are the ones selling multi-platinum records gets irritating from time to time.
:: Aaron: Teenager Sings Makes Ballad Sound Like Every Other Ballad! Video at 11:00!!! Seriously, this is just dull, dull, dull, dull, dull. This kid is a personality vacuum.
Again, in one ear and out the other. He sang this like a straight ballad, and it was boring as hell. But then the judges started to gush! Randy told him, "You're our country performer!", completely ignoring the fact that the performance had zero characteristics that made it sound country at all.
:: Siobhan: God Almighty, I am SO SICK OF HER SCREAM. I almost hate her for it. That was ninety percent of a really good performance, and then she F***ING RUINS it with that damned scream. She's like a little kid who learns a trick and won't stop doing it and shouting "HEY MOMMY WATCH ME DO THIS!!!!".
(I dread watching her take the stage now. No matter what she does, she's going to get that scream in there. It's the most annoying thing I've ever seen in an IDOL contestant. She did an up-tempo song and was doing it fairly well; I was actually enjoying it, but I knew what was coming, and sure enough, at the end, there it was: THE SCREAM THAT ATE PITTSBURGH.
When I was in high school, there was a kid a few years younger than me who was also a trumpet player in the band. By "trumpet player", I am being generous -- he was a lousy player, actually. His technique was piss-poor. But he had a parlor trick of his that for a few years had the band director convinced that he was some kind of hidden talent: through some freakish arrangement of the muscles of his lips, he could produce staggeringly high notes on the trumpet. For young trumpet players, high notes tend to be the Holy Grail; ask any young trumpet player who's at all serious about the instrument what he or she feels is lacking in their skills, and they'll almost always say "Range". But this kid could produce extremely high notes with no apparent effort. He also had no control over those high notes, though; stick a trumpet in his hand and tell him to play a high note, he'd squeal one right out for you. Stick a piece of music on his stand and tell him that at this measure on this beat he needed to produce a High D, well, he was sunk.
That's what Siobhan reminds me of. Her scream is a parlor trick, nothing more. Not only does it add nothing to her performances, it almost always detracts from it, because you know it's coming, hell or high water, whether the song calls for it or not. At least this week, when Simon told her that the scream was unpleasant, she didn't look all pouty -- maybe because the other three judges were there to shower her with their own drool.)
:: Wrapping up: Crystal and Casey. Then Mike and maybe Siobhan (until that last note). Lee and Aaron can go away any time now. I have no use for either one of them.
So who actually goes home? I'm honestly expecting Crystal to depart very soon, maybe even this week. A Siobhan-Lee finale would tax my commitment to the show....)