Wednesday, March 14, 2007

American Idol Wendesdays: Vote for the Worst?

OK guys. It's working. You can pat your oh-so-clever selves on the back now. Once again, you've managed to boost the votes of a disastrous Idol candidate and prolong his/her stay on the show. We get it. You're able to influence the vote. Now can you losers PLEASE stop voting for Sanjaya? Please put this kid out of his misery. Stop stretching out his 15 minutes of national embarrassment. For all of our sakes.

I'm of course talking about Vote for the Worst, one of the most popular Idol sites out there, which focuses on getting people to vote over and over again for whomever they deem to be the worst candidate remaining... just for shits and anti-establishment giggles. Now that Antonella and Sundance have been ousted from the competition, this website's rabid following is focusing their energies on crowning Sanjaya as our new American Idol. Even shock-jock Howard Stern is on board with their shenanigans, inviting his listening audience to jump on the Sanjaya bandwagon.

So, between the voting power of VFTW, millions of tone-deaf teenage girls and the subcontinent of India, it appears Sanjaya is here to torture our eardrums for at least the next few weeks.

With last night's episode, Idol pulled back from three airings a week to two, and the Tuesday show was expanded to two hours to accomodate the performances of all twelve finalists. Results will air tonight, accompanied of course by saccharine production numbers, Idol trivia, Ford commercials and other filler. Thank God for Tivo or I'd never make it through the results shows.

Last night was Diana Ross night and the top 12 belted out some of her greatest hits to varying degrees of success.

Brandon Rogers: "Can't Hurry Love"

Randy was totally right when he said that Brandon had reverted back to his "backup singer" role in this performance of the Supremes' 1963 motown hit. I just don't feel energy and passion leaping out of this guy. He has a pleasant voice, but as we all know that only takes you about 30% of the way on Idol. There's just no "wow" factor with Brandon, no spark of originality, and it's getting to be a bit late in the competition for him to have not displayed it yet. I mean, what is this guy's style? C'mon Brandon, there's a big "money note" in you somewhere.

This performance leaves him very vulnerable for elimination.

Melinda Doolittle: "Home"

If there was one performance I was looking forward to tonight, it was hers. Melinda is quietly emerging into the front-runner in this competition, just knocking it out of the park week after week. She is polish, poise, class, professionalism. At this point, she's just dusting the other contestants, and this week's powerhouse performance was no different. You never see Melinda trying too hard. You don't see the rehearsal and planning behind her choices when she takes the stage. It's simply effortless, and with that quality alone, she's miles ahead of the others.

Chris Sligh: "Endless Love"

OK what's up with the Coldplay riff playing over everything? The song's melody got completely lost in Sligh's odd orchestration and it distracted from his vocal. All I could hear was "Clocks" not "Endless Love." It was a mess for me, too Randy and it's a shame because he's the only guy on this show I actually look forward to hearing from. Better luck next week, Sligh. And I'd keep the glasses on too.

Gina Glocksen: "Love Child"

Gina is the only white girl remaining in the competition who has enough voice and style in her to compete with the black girls. There, I'm being blunt. However, there's something about Gina that I like, though I didn't enjoy this song nearly as much as her rendition of Heart's "Alone" on last week's show. I didn't hear a lot of dynamics and colors in this performance, just a lot of belt & shout. But she's got style, baby and I see her going far.

Sanjaya Malakar: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"

"Sanjaya to me is... love" said Diana Ross. I guess that's all she can say in that situation since he flat-out sucks. Worst top 12 contestant since Jasmine Trias and Kevin Covais overstayed their welcome. The sweater, the bad-perm curls, the oddly feminine EARRINGS, the whispery, tone-deaf vocal? Appalling. Now I'm like... how did this kid ever get to Hollywood in the first place? But of course, thanks to Vote for the Worst, I guarantee you he'll be back next week.

Haley Scarnato: "Missing You"

The song had a really rough beginning and Scarnato lacked control in her voice. She forgot the words, too. Haley is the kind of developing singer that has only two settings on her volume control-- whispery head voice and full out chest-belt. The best singers can mix the two, but she's not one of them and a song sitting in that vocal range almost requires it. I'd almost completely tuned her out by the halfway point of the song. And then Simon, whom I usually agree with, comes out with compliments? WTF? Did he feel that bad about forgetting her name last week?

This performance leaves her extremely vulnerable.

Phil Stacey: "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me"

Phil delivered an above-average vocal compared to most of the guys this season. Though it had acouple of those chilling high notes, it's still nothing I'll remember tomorrow. this episode really two hours long? I'm getting hungry. And please, get Phil some self tanner (for face and head).

LaKisha Jones: "God Bless the Child"

I was rapt the entire time. It was nice to see a bit more of a subdued vocal from LaKisha after her previous powerhouse song choices like "I Am Telling You" and "Midnight Train to Georgia." Loved the dress, loved the performance, loved the vocal control. Everything was working for her on this. You go on with your bad self, LaKisha!

Blake Lewis: "You Keep Me Hangin' On"

I totally appreciate that Lewis has the musical chops to rearrange a classic song that well. Look, he's not my taste, but I think teenage girls across America were changing their panties after that performance. I disagreed with Randy and Simon-- why NOT Blake-ize every song? Why NOT change up Motown? At least he has a style and I give a lot of credit for that.

Stephanie Edwards: "Love Hangover"

Stephanie is probably the third-best singer in the competition behind Melinda and LaKisha. But something just didn't kick in with this song. I think I like her better when she's in a straight-up R&B Mary J. Blige mode-- that's what sets her apart from Melinda and LaKisha. But on straight up big-ass vocals, she's just outside of their league. Though her vocals were strong, I just wasn't that into her song choice.

Chris Richardson: "The Boss"

Welcome to this week's I-Wanna-Slit-My Wrists moment. The outfit was horrid with the white
jacket and tie and his nasaly Justin Timberlake-lite vocals were pitchy as hell. There was a total lack of vocal control in his runs and they seemed to hit every note except, you know, the right ones. I think I need about three more Motrin.

Jordin Sparks: "If We Hold On Together"

Awesome vocal. I like Jordin a lot and she has sick talent for a 17 year old. But could she have picked a more boring song out of ALL the Diana Ross songs out there? She pulls out some crap from "The Land Before Time?" Huh? Diana Ross did a song for "The Land Before Time?" Seriously? Yes, Simon it was a bit "gooey." Next week, I want to hear something fierce and uptempo from her-- no more shitty ballads from cartoons, m'kay?

Who will be voted off tonight? We all know it should be Sanjaya, but that ain't happening. So I'm going with Brandon Rogers, with Haley Scarnato close behind.

Results air tonight at 9 PM PDT.


Unknown said...

Can't someone block Sanajay's idol number?

Chris looks like a lost pumpkin head without his specs.

And dead on with Lakisha's dress!

Mr Subliminal said...

Good stuff.

Unknown said...

Sanjaya! Sanjaya! I'm all for embarassing this lame excuse for a pop culture phenomenon.


CC said...

A few thoughts:

>> Chris Sligh has gone from a powerhouse potential winner to a big point of confusion. He's an interesting guy in this competition: lives in G-Vegas, leads music at a contemporary church there (all of the TV stations have been doing remotes at the pastor's house or another minister, I think), obviously has an atypical look for this competition (went with the curly hair after not making it last season, weight gain has been fairly recent from what I can gather). Obviously trying to be the alternative music guy, and he's investing the most in song arrangement for lack of a better term, but I think he's taking a road that needs a course correction.
>> Race has been a key theme in AI since its inception; not overtly, but the hidden racism of voters. To that end, a great move to ditch Lakisha's Mom and Aunt from a couple weeks ago (in the white t-shirts, acting like a fool). Lakisha has been trying to win one of these competitions for the last two years (I think YouTube has video of a Houston competition). Last night was one of the first times she's performed a song new for her, and I think she'll improve as she has to move away from her comfort zone a bit.
>> Glad that they are moving Melinda past the gimmicky I'm-so-fraidy-scared looks and dialogue. She is the future of AI as more semi-pros decide to head this way.
>> Stephanie is terrific, possibly the most recordable of this dozen. She poses the question do you have to have a bombastic voice to win this thing, is that a prerequisite. It seems to be the case, but should it be?
>> Blake's addition really again is part of the cauldron that sets this AI up as a turning point for the future. AI has found a fairly diverse collection of artists previously, but now Blake breaks the mold completely. I actually don't dislike him nor his music, but I think this week's performance shows how dangerous it can be. He seemed like he was in a fog as he navigated through the song. Can he do his thing every week, basically creating an original song from some template? That's a tall order that both he and Chris are tackling. I'm thinking it is hard enough just to sing well without adding creating a new arrangement. Alot of risk.
>> To end, since I've now written a novel basically here, I love the judges but think they need to work alot harder rather than just showing up and saying: you were pretty, you were pitchy, you weren't original, you weren't memorable, or you were too original/why not just sing the melody. They often doom performers with a one-off remark that may be off the mark.

Anyways, I'd be interested in your thoughts if you have the time or inclination.