Thursday, April 19, 2012

idol top seven part dos: this site's rubber chicken is back on the roof ...

FOURTEEN songs?  Are you kidding me?  As ridiculous as “Idol” can be at times, they have NEVER attempted to pack this much music into a two hour show.  So while at times last night’s “Idol” felt rushed, condensed, and frantic … it also was one helluva way to spend two hours with the most talented final seven this show has ever seen.

Dim the lights, here we … well, no, here we don’t go, because unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know that yesterday, television icon Dick Clark, affectionately known as “Strokey” Dick Clark to me, passed away at the age of 82.  While I loved the classy, fitting, appropriate opening to “Idol” paying tribute to Dick Clark, allow me to pay tribute in my own way to open this recap.

I never met Dick Clark.  I’ve met a few people in life that are famous, probably the most famous of which is (current) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Either it’s meeting her at the young journalists conference I went to in 1994 … or playing blackjack for a couple hours with Joey Fatone of *NSYNC.  (Definitely Mrs. Clinton).  But I wish I had met Mr. Clark, because I feel like he’s a part of my life.  And here’s why.

I rarely if ever go out on New Year’s Eve.  For a plethora of reasons, the biggest one being that it’s amateur hour out there, and as much as I enjoy a vodka tonic, it’s not worth dying over because some moron had one too many Coronas and thought he was ok to drive, but instead ends up t-boning you when he thinks red is green at the traffic signal.  My typical New Year’s Eve is: meet up with friends for dinner and drinks in the early evening, home on the couch by 10pm, and raise a bottle of champagne to “Strokey” Dick Clark come midnight, before passing out to get enough sleep to enjoy Bowl Day that kicks off at 10am the following morning.  What can I say, I’m a boring individual.

I’ve rung in the new year exactly twice in the last 20 years anywhere other than on my couch with Dick Clark on my TV – 2000, when I was so hammered I didn’t realize the chick I was dancing with in Westport was begging me for a hookup (the lesson?  As always, I’m the dumbest person in the room) … and last year, when the clock hit midnight, and I was on … Dusty and Kellie’s couch, as everyone else there made fun of me for raising my glass of champagne to Mr. Clark as the clock struck midnight.

I didn’t care that I was getting made fun of … well hell, let’s face it – I get made fun of all the time, because I’m an easy-to-make-fun-of guy.  But it didn’t bother me, because I was raising a glass to “my friend”, Dick Clark.  A man I rang every New Year’s in with for my entire life … until this year.  I have no idea how Ryan Seacrest is going to handle the show this year … but I know it just won’t be the same.

Which is why Seacrest’s tribute to Dick Clark to open “Idol” last night was so perfect.  He nailed it – it wasn’t just Ryan who lost a friend (again, in case you’ve been living in a cave, the reason Dick Clark was still on your TV screen every New Year’s Eve?  Was because Ryan Seacrest ensured it happened.  They were like father and son, and you could see how tore up Ryan was last night, although being the pro he is, he made it through the opening.)  We ALL lost “our” friend. 

Anyways, on to the performances, before I start crying.

This week’s theme is “Now and Then” – each Idol will perform a song from the 2000s, and a “soul song” from a prior decade.  As I noted earlier this week, this has sick potential.  Also important to note is that tonight is a “double elimination” – two aspiring Idols are going home.  Let’s see what went down.

This week’s mentor?  Obviously Idol wanted to cut costs, because they didn’t have one, other than Jimmy.  Which, to be fair, is still one helluva fallback option.

Hollie opens us with Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”.  It will take two minor miracles for her to still be here next week, so here’s her first attempt at one.  And sweet JESUS, I am digging this!  I’m actually tapping my foot to this.  THIS is the Hollie the judges saw up to this point!  She’s having fun, she’s adopted the “when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose” mentality she needs to have!  This is an incredible vocal!  Not a big fan of the ending … but chalk up minor miracle number one!  Very, very solid opening.

And she knows it too, the sh*t eating grin!

Steven: “you FINALLY did what all of America has been waiting for you to do!”  JLo: “that’s what we mean when we say no thinking!  You just sang that song!  You did it!”  Randy: “for the first time ever, I felt you.  You had feeling, you had emotion … you’ve arrived”.  THAT?  Is why I love this show.  We’re one performance in (out of fourteen!) … and the entire night’s script has just been turned upside down.

Job well done girl!

Next up, this site’s rubber chicken, covering … Lady GaGa?  Whoa, Colton doing “Bad Romance”?  This will be interesting, if nothing else.

Uum, what is that dead red thing on his bangs?  Fine, I’ll say it: this is TURRIBLE.  Christ, he’s in serious trouble tonight if performance two is anything like this.  This is awful.  I have absolutely no idea what he was going for with this performance – it makes no sense vocally or visually.  Thank God it’s over.

And from the look on his face when it’s done, he knows it’s awful.

Randy: “you are so in the zone right now”.  No, no he’s not.  JLo: compliments his character.  Steven: “you gotta get low to get high”.  Oy.  I do agree with Steven, that Colton is the one singer in this competition taking chances and risks.  Unfortunately, that one bombed.

Elise up next, doing “No One” by Alicia Keys.  If she pulls this off, we have a new frontrunner.  I’m just saying.  If you can nail Led Zeppelin AND Alicia Keys?  You’re a frontrunner.

And to be honest?  This is a fun performance.  It’s not great, it’s kind of safe … but it’s fun.  I wouldn’t pay $1.29 on iTunes for it … but I wouldn’t turn the channel if it came on the radio.  JLo: got her first goosies of the night.  (stevo smacking his forehead in frustration)  Steven: compares her to Janis Joplin … and actually, I can see it.  Randy: happy she stayed with the melody.  Agreed.  If this was a 3rd down play?  That was a 9 yard completion when you need 8.  Safe, but effective.

Phil up next, covering … Usher?!?!  Doing “U Got It Bad”.  Oy.  This is NOT going to go well.

OK, look it, I like Usher.  (I actually argued two years ago Usher should be one of the new “Idol” judges, when they were shaking up the panel.)  And I love DMB – I think I’ve made every appearance of his here in KC for the last decade.  But the two?  Do.  Not.  Mix.  At.  All.

If there’s a shock elimination tonight?  Phil might be your victim.  And yes, I am fully aware I NAILED The Sanchize’s shock “elimination” last week.  That was awful.

Steven: “with you, we never know what we’re gonna get!”  He actually liked that?  I’d rather be deaf than hear that again.  JLo: “that was so sexy!”  Good f*cking God, it was anything but “sexy”.  Randy: “I’ve been doing this show for a minute” … wait, what?!?!  “This year, we have a true artist on the stage!”  Wait, WHAT?!?!  So Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, and Adam Lambert AREN’T true artists?!?!  To say nothing of Jennifer Hudson?  Let’s just move on before I start hurling stuff at my computer screen, because I can’t afford a new laptop right now.

The Sanchize covering Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’”.  Go figure.  Another perfectly predictable and “safe” performance.  This chick annoys the shit out of me, and I’m not editing “shit”, that’s how much she annoys me.  She’s rapidly approaching Katherine McPhee territory (even if I totally dig Ms. McPhee on “Smash”).

OK, I’ll ask it – what the hell is she wearing?  What is that thing around her neck?  And why the 1980s pant suit bottom to what starts out on top as a dress?

Oh, the performance isn’t half bad.  It’s decent.  Steven: “some songs you need to get mad at”.  OK.  JLo: I have absolutely no idea what she just said, something about juggling balls.  Randy: hopes America “shows up and supports you this week!”  Oy.  I’ve heard better … but I’ve certainly heard worse.

Next up, Skylar … doing Lady GaGa?  “Born This Way”?!?!  Oh sh*t, this has potential!

OK, I’m just gonna say this, and feel free to disagree in the comments: if the final is ANYONE other than Colton and Skylar?  Then this show is a f*cking joke.  They’re the ONLY two contestants putting it all out there every week.  Scotty sang the same f*cking song for twelve straight weeks and won last year.  It was outrageous.  Skylar?  Has about the same vocal range as Scotty did (albeit an octave higher) … and is NAILING Lady GaGa! 

That was really good, and she knows it.  As do the judges.  JLo: “Oh My God!  I LOVE that version of that song!  A more perfect song for you does not exist!”  Steven: “I’m so glad you were born that way!”  Randy: you have crossover appeal.  Yes, yes she does.  "You are so beyond ready to me!”  Yes, yes she is.

Finally for the “Now” portion of the show, Josh covering Fantasia’s “I Believe”.  Hang on, let me recap this in the proper frame of mind.  (stevo cracking open the first beer of the day …)

Let me give the kid credit – he’s subdued for once.  This is a REALLY good cover.  Until he reaches the bridge.  Then he starts oversinging, as usual.  I get Josh’s appeal, and he does have a tremendous voice … but for God’s sake, not every song needs to be “taken to church”, as Randy would put it.  Sometimes, simple is good.

Not sure why the judges gave that a standing O.  Not worth it.  Randy: not a clue what he’s trying to say.  JLo: not a clue what she’s trying to say.  She’s “blessed that you’re in this competition”.  Steven: YES!  FINALLY!  Notes that “you could sing the phone book!”  HELL YES!  Randy actually had to jump in as Steven was talking to “grab” his comment back.  First time all year someone has “sung the phone book”!!!  Now we just need someone to “kill it” tonight …

On to the “Then” portion, with Hollie covering Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man”.  Minor miracle number two?

In this recapper’s ears … minor miracle number two!  If she goes home tonight, it’s an outrage … but probably based on the prior five weeks.  Because if you judge her based solely on last night?  She deserves to stay.  That was solid.

Randy: “you dug in!”  Reminds me, I need to get my dugout back.  JLo: liked it.  Steven: “I still think you can push it even more … you’ve got the voice, you’ve got the vehicle, come on!”  Agreed.  That was by far and away her best night, and I hope America keeps her another week.  I wouldn’t wager the $0.67 in my savings account on it though.

Next up, Colton doing Earth, Wind and Fire!  “September!”  Sweet!

(stevo sighing …)

I try to be fair and objective, unlike a certain “news” channel that is anything but “fair” and “balanced”.  (Seriously FOX, just embrace the right wing already.  Nobody gives a damn that you’re biased.  Just admit it).  Having said that … this is ATROCIOUS.  Colton’s going home tonight if the viewing public judges and votes based solely on last night.

Steven: rips it to shreds.  Deservedly so.  JLo: rips it to shreds.  Deservedly so.  Randy: “it wasn’t the perfect song”.  Ya think? 

Colton is in SERIOUS, SERIOUS trouble tonight.  SERIOUS trouble.  Zeus, buddy, pal, help me out here.  You think he can survive this?  (zeus looking at his rubber chicken).  (zeus not barking “yes” …)  (Scooby doo voice) whroot whroo …

Next up, Elise doing “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye.  Sweet?  Sweet!  This is really good to open with.  Love the couch on the stage too, not that its giving off any suggestions as to what this song is about (rimshot!) 

That was a perfectly decent performance.  Not great, but good.  She’s safely through to the top five.

JLo: “you always sound so good”.  Asks her to show more “emotion”, and actually, that’s a solid point – if you aren’t showing emotion on a song like “Let’s Get It On”, why cover it.  Steven: “you need to take it up a notch”.  Randy: “that song choice wasn’t really right for your voice”.  I kind of agree with it.  Although Randy thinks Al Green did this song.  God above.  Who the hell doesn’t know Marvin Gaye did this song?

Phil up next, covering Wilson Pickett’s “Wait Til the Midnight Hour”.

He’s baked off his ass.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  But seriously, Phil?  It’s called “Visine”, use some before taking the stage when your eyes look like that because of what you’ve been enjoying before the performance.

A totally forgettable mess of a performance.  If Colton hadn’t bombed so badly, Phil might be your shock eliminated contestant tonight.  Or could both be headed home?  Because Hollie certainly performed well enough to stick around another week …

Randy: enjoyed it.  “Be who you are”.  Who he is, is a freaking (steve miller band voice) joker, a smoker, a midnight toker!  JLo: says he’s spontaneous.  Steven: “brilliantly awkward”.  Actually … that’s a perfect description of the kid.  Hope he sticks around, I usually enjoy him.  Just not tonight.

Next up, the Sanchize, doing “Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding.  And dear Lord, is this a mess.  Maybe it’s just me … but why do people seem to insist on OVER-singing songs?  What’s wrong with simple and subdued at times?  This is a trainwreck.  This is a six car pile-up.  It’s awful.

Steven: “I like the fact that you’re stepping out!”  What?  JLo: “we got a little bit of your alter ego”.  What?  JLo is in full on “I know that was awful, but she’s good, so let me praise her to draw her votes” mode.  “Your voice alone is not gonna do it”.  Randy: “you need to connect with the emotion of the lyric”.  No, she needs to go home, she’s not top five worthy based on the previous six weeks of performances, but that’s just me.

Skylar next, another Marvin Gaye classic, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”.  Or is that an Al Green classic Randy?

And yikes, this is awful.  Some songs, you just can’t countrify.  This?  Is one of those songs.

The judges do not look happy.

Randy: “you let it all hang out, you have a good time, it’s a Skylar Laine party!”  JLo: likes her spunkiness.  Steven: “you’re like a wild horse who refuses to be tamed”.  This from the man who once sung “o’er the land of the free?  And the home … of the … (dramatic pause) … INDIANAPOLIS 500!!!”

That was decent, but not great, and barely good.  Still, no way she’s going home.

Finally, Josh with “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke.  And in the interest of full disclosure, I LOVE this song.  There’s a singer who shows up at BB’s every so often, Lonnie Shelton, who NAILS this song.  His cover of this is worth the price of admission.  Here we go.

(sponsor-desired shoutout voice: BB’s Lawn Side BBQ!  Arguably the best thing about living in south KC …)

That wasn’t half bad.  I don’t get Josh’s appeal … but then again, I don’t get a lot of things in life.

Steven: “you have stretched your voice to the limits of soul!”  JLo: “I still want more at the end … please America, don’t send this boy home!”  They won’t.  Randy: “Sam Cooke grew up singing quartet, most people may not know what that means …”  WHAT?  Who the f*ck doesn’t know what a “quartet” is?  Even my four year old nephew could figure out that a word that starts with “quart” probably involves “four”.

Let’s end this, I need a stiff drink, and it’s not even 10am yet.

Predicted Bottom Three: Hollie, Colton, Phil.
Going Home (based on last night, deservedly so): Colton.
Going Home (based on last night, undeservedly so): Hollie.

Personally, I'd vote off The Sanchize and Josh ... but wow, is tonight's results show gonna be a "sweat through it" result for my rubber chicken.  Right champ?  (zeus voice) bark!  bark bark bark!!!

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