Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's American Idol!

It's that time of year again ... for American Idol! And as always, my youngest brother Troy and I start recapping and snarking once the top 24 hit the small screen. No one really pays attention to us, but we have fun. Enjoy! And if there is anyone out there, please comment! Troy's here--he loves comments!


TRACY: Well, after seeing some spectacular auditions, I was spectacularly underwhelmed by the top 12 men tonight. What is UP with the theme nights in the semi-finals, Nigel Lythgoe? Part of what I loved about the semi-finals was that the contestants got to pick their own songs, from any genre, and really showcase their strengths. Remember Chris Daughtry slam-dunking Fuel's "Hemorrhage?" That so wouldn't have happened on 60s night, Nigel, so get in there and fix this travesty before it's too late!

What'd you think, Troy?

TROY: I absolutely agree. The semi-finals are supposed to be about the contestants expressing themselves, not singing 60s songs that they have never even heard of. Hopefully they’ll realize what a trainwreck (and it WAS a trainwreck, just not of epic proportions) tonight was and go theme-less until the top 12.

TRACY: So first up we had DAVID HERNANDEZ, who I am loving because his name is so close to my husband's last name--FERNANDEZ. Of course, our family has had it's share of being mistaken for Hernandezes (or the more elegant plural "Hernandae"), so perhaps I should be a little more bitter against David's clan.

But love him I do. I think he has an amazing voice at the purest, simplest, most non-drama-queen level, and I like listening to him. Yeah, he's not all flash and circumstance yet, but fast forward to fellow Latino Daniel Noriega's simpering and prancing later in the evening, and good ol' David starts feeling like a breath of fresh, unaffected air. I wasn't off my head about his version of "In the Midnight Hour" the way I was about Chris Daughtry's "Hemorrhage" or Ruben Studdard's "Superstar" back in the day, but I really enjoyed it and think he's only going to get better. Going first sucks, and I hope he gets the chance to come back and prove that he's not the second coming of Rudy Cardenas.

TROY: David seems like a nice guy, but there was no sort of flash or urgency to him. He has a nice voice, but for the life of me, I cannot even remember his singing that well. I really don’t have much to say about him, but I hope he starts to get interesting and picks songs that give him some sort of personality. He’s a nice guy, but I wasn’t inspired.

TRACY: Come on? Where’s your support for la raza?

And then we have CHIKEZIE EZE, who decided to pull a Trenyce and drop his last name. Note to current and future contestants: The whole single-monikered thing is obnoxious when you choose it rather than earn it. Cher? Totally earned it after years on the road with Sonny. Madonna? Got a major record deal after a ton of hard work and therefore earned it. Fabio? As much as I hate to admit it, he earned it by becoming the embodiment of society's cliched view of romance novels or, really, the gross trivialization of any literature written primarily by women and for a predominantly female audience. But I digress....

TROY: The underrated Treynce deserved to be single-monikered – she was ROBBED second season. Please reference: http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZOC7M9XqxCc Anyway….

TRACY: You know, I would totally agree. She was massively robbed.

Now I loved Chikezie in the audition rounds. He has the nicest smile and a smooth-as-silk voice that harkens back to the glory days of Motown, or to what life would be like in an alternative universe where Barry White was a tenor. But that cover of "More Today Than Yesterday" shoved me involuntarily aboard the last train to Dullsville. I had to rewind Tivo to watch him again because I got distracted by something shiny and went mentally bye-bye for the second half of his song. YAWN.

TROY: You found the effort to rewind Tivo? Jacuzzi was the equivalent of listening to a Hoover. I was left wish I could flip the channel to see what I was missing on a rerun of “Murder She Wrote.” I thought he was just painful with how dull his performance was.

TRACY: The only thing interesting was his can-o-tomato-soup suit. But I don't mean that in a good way, since I kept asking myself questions like: Who bought him that suit? Why would he wear such a thing? Is this what young, hip, 20-somethings are wearing now? Would I really be that surprised since the return of the bubble skirt and the leggings-with-big-shirts ensembles we sartorially beat to death back in the 80s? Will my head explode if people start parading around town in blinding suits that appear to have been hand-dyed in a stretch of space radiation?

TROY: Remember the last contestant to wear a truly awful outfit? That tinfoiled spacesuit wearer won an Oscar… (I can’t seem to find a picture online of it, but it was BAD). Not that I’m defending his outfit choice. My retinas are still fried.

TRACY: Hmmm. I’m thinking we’re not going to have a repeat Oscar winner here.

I felt vindicated when Simon pronounced the suit "horrible." And once Chikezie started talking more smack than Justin Guarini back in season one, my love for him died, right then and there. Pssssssssyyyyychoooooooo. Next time, if there is a next time, perhaps a slice of humble pie before you go on would make you likable again?

TROY: You were too nice. It’s time for a TYRAde. “JACUZZI – I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE YELLED AT A CONTESTANT LIKE THIS. I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU! WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU! TAKE SOME RESPONSBILITY FOR YOURSELF. NOBODY IS GOING TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR BLEATASTIC SINGING AND FASHION VICTIM STATUS. LEARRRNNNN SOMETHING FROM THIS.”

TRACY: You always scare me a little when you go all Tyra on me.

TROY:

My biggest IDOL pet peeve is when a contestant talks back to the judges. It’s unnecessary and you come off looking bratty and egotistical. Take your advice, smile, and hold up your fingers to remind America that, YES, you are IDOLS-02. Hate.

TRACY: That brings us to DAVID COOK, whom I love. He keeps getting shafted by Simon, but I like his voice a lot, and I thought he did a nice job with "Happy Together." What I love about this guy is that he's not afraid to mix it up with the original arrangements, and he makes everything he sings unique. Take note, Robbie Carrico: HERE'S a real rocker, albeit one who owns way too many sweater vests. Is that some kind of demented Emo thing, Troy? I don't get Emo rockers. I just don't. But I like David C.

TROY: David could be the new Diana DiGarmo in terms of “Loud is the new ‘Good.’” I thought he shouted most of the song and it too closely resembled the arrangement of “Happy Together” done by Simple Plan (which can be found on the “Freaky Friday” soundtrack – shut up). That’s why I didn’t find him to be too original. He’s good, but is still not even near the league of Bo Bice or Daughry.

TRACY: Give him time, grasshopper. Although let me just say, that ... that hair. What is up with that slicked down, Snidely-Whiplash-with-a-side-part combover that looks like he just dunked his head in an oil slick? I didn't like the fauxhawk. Didn't really care for the red streak. But I could live with them. This, THIS ... no. Just ... no. Idol stylists, do something with this guy, stat. Before America votes him off in an effort to make him lay off the product.

TROY: I think he needs to have a pervy mustache to twirl and complete his look. It’s bad (and he would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids and their dog).

TRACY: Heh. I felt sad when JASON YEAGER chose "Moon River," because it just isn't a wow kind of song, and unless he could pull off a brand-new interpretation fresh from the Fantasia vault, I knew there was no hope for him. But I like the guy--I thought he had a sweet smile, was lovely with his son (did his presumably former partner have the kid when Jason was 12?!), and he reminds me a lot of our brother Tommy before he started working for the Man and got all bitter and cranky on us--particularly when Tommy sang "When I Fall in Love" at Jose's and my wedding. So, in the spirit of nostalgia and brotherly love, I voted for Jason. I hope he stays and gets a chance to show us what he's got.

TROY: I don’t believe for a second that you actually voted.

TRACY: I did! Pinky swear! Like Jose (my husband) said, he was like a white Tommy.

TROY: Honestly not one of these guys truly inspired me to get my phone out and vote. I thought they were OK, but not much else. I like “Moon River,” but it was kind of a Debbie Downer of a choice. Very slow tempo and it kind of stopped the show’s momentum (not that that was lightning paced anyway). I think he’s good enough to make it to next week, but, like so many of these guys, I hope he truly starts to develop a personality and work a little harder to engage America.

TRACY: I'm not sure why the AI recap guy on EW.com loved ROBBIE "Hey, I'm a Rocker! No, Really!" CARRICO so much, but as soon as he launched into Three Dog Night's "One," my dog Scarlet started howling, and it wasn't too far into the song that I shoved my head under one of the couch cushions and joined her. GAH! What a thin, nasal, horrid, horrid interpretation. And what was that on his head? He looks like he belongs on a syrup bottle, not on a stage doing his faux hardcore thing.

I'm sure he's going to stick around for awhile, being from the Constantine Maroulis school of rock, but I'm not sure my ears can take any more. Go back to the boy/girl band from whence you came, and stop assaulting my sense of pitch and rhythm.

TROY: You pretty much summed up Bob Carrico in a nutshell. Isn’t he the same one who massacred “Hemorrhage” in the audition process? Makes you miss Daughtry that much more. In fact, Robbie stole Daughtry’s wallet chain, Bo Bice’s hair, and Constantine Marouils’ creeptasticness. I don’t get it. It was a horrifying performance, which made Fall Out Boy look like the second coming of The Clash.

TRACY: Do you even know who The Clash is, Mr. Born in 1985?

By all accounts, I should hate DAVID ARCHULETA. He's been performing since he was straight out ' the womb, judging by the stories and YouTube videos that have popped up on the Internet since he broke the top 24. And no matter how driven the kid, I'm always a little leery of children being paraded around like performing monkeys, so their parents can preen and clap and feel smug about their genes along the sidelines and most likely earn a few extra bucks off Junior's talent. But like, I'm guessing, much of America, I found myself loving David. The dichotomy of his being so comfortable and confident on stage and not acting like an asshat offstage is interesting and refreshing. He's another one with a great smile, and I tend to find myself grinning back at my TV set whenever he does. Plus, I like the unique rasp in his voice. I didn't think his choice of "Shop Around" or his voice disappearing into the low notes added up to his best performance. But he did a solid job with a difficult song, and he's definitely talented enough to be one of the frontrunners.

And yes, he's so adorable, I just wanted to squeeze him. After still feeling the pain of AJ Tabaldo's untimely demise last year, I'm happy to have a happy, bouncy little replacement in David A.

TROY: I can hate a little on David Archuleta. I think his “Who, me???” act is just that – an act. It’s minus the genuine. This is a kid who has been on “Star Search” and countless other performances. He knows he is good, but is taking a page from the “Melinda Doolittle School of Humble.” That said, I loved his “Waiting on the World to Change” from earlier auditions and liked him well enough here. He has a really unaffected, pure voice. However, you’re no Melinda Doolittle, kid. Drop the act and sing.

TRACY: I am not so cynical about David A. yet, but we shall see…. OK, so JASON CASTRO. Generally, white guys with dreadlocks annoy me. After all, aren’t dreadlocks supposed to symbolize the refusal by black men and women to conform to Anglo ideals of beauty, so they let their hair dreadlock as a political statement AND probably because it looks cool? (There's also some religious symbolism behind some people's dreadlocks, but I'm not well-versed enough to know exactly what it is.) On a presumably white guy like Jason, the only political statement you're making is, "Hey, I refuse to bathe!" Cultural appropriation + refusal to wash = yuck.

(Yes, I know people who wear dreadlocks do wash them. But when you don't have the curly hair that you need for them to form naturally, you gotta wonder what the heck makes stick-straight hair dread. Whatever unholy combination of chemical perms, molding mud and back-combing it takes, I just have to take a moment to go eeeuuuw.)

TROY: How quickly you forget Jordis Unga. She rocked her dreads (but I think that unlike Jason Castro, she showers).

TRACY: Actually, Jordis is black, probably mixed race—and “American and Tongan” according to her website. My rant stands. Although if I am wrong and Jason turns out to be a person of color (person of a little bit of color?), I will retract.

Anyway, with that admitted bias, I was all set to hate Jason C. But as Randy is so fond of saying, he worked it out with his spare and quite lovely version of "What a Day for a Daydream." For someone who doesn't have a lot of experience on a stage, he looked comfortable and dare-I-say sweet up there, and he made his song current and fun. I've been absentmindedly singing it all day, and I never was a huge fan of the original. So, props to Jason.

Now go shave your head.

TROY: I actually really liked Jason! Sure, he was like one of the “Save the World” hippies that was parked out underneath a tree on campus, smelling a bit too much like marijuana as he strummed along on his guitar, singing about “love, peace, and corn flakes.” It was a little granola, but I enjoyed it. It was a happy-go-lucky performance that may have been my favorite of the night. He stood out from the blahness the rest of the guys conveyed.

TRACY: Excuse me. Strictly speaking, your sister is a little granola, given that I write “save the world” articles for my day job. I do bathe, just for the record.

How much can an American Idol contestant suck? Let me count the ways ....

One: GARRETT HALEY.

UGH! to the Leif Garrett hair! UGH! to the horrible song choice--Neil Sedaka needs to stay in the early 60s where he belongs! UGH! to the anemic, slightly wasted singing! UGH! to the brainless, frightened mugging for the camera. I am sick, SICK that this guy beat out Kyle the Future Politician, who does Josh Groban better than Josh Groban (and minus the egotudinous ick factor). GAH!

TROY: Kyle the Future Politician was such a creepster though. The Return of Leif Garrett seems nice enough. I mean, he’s only 17 and has quite possibly the dopiest grin I have ever seen so I can’t take him seriously enough to hate too much. That said, hopefully Sanjaya 2008 won’t stay around to make it to the top 12.

TRACY: In the spirit of ughing all over the place, let's also discuss DANNY NORIEGA. I thought his outfit was terrific--he really knows how to rock the tapered pants. And I really love how I'm constantly surprised at that powerful voice coming out of that thin body. I thought Simon was a little too hard on him, vocally speaking.

But the preening! The mincing and snapping! The sassy little snark nuggets he tossed at Simon. Oh, and the pouting. Dear God, the pouting.

There just are no words.

OK, there are some words. Danny came across like a spoiled, campy version of a Bratz doll come to life, and it wasn't fun to watch. Note to Señorita Noriega: If you're going to put on an act that's "all swagger and attitude," at least TRY to be marginally warm and likeable, too. Because I mean, dude. I don't agree with Simon that the performance was grotesque, and I totally do not think being yourself is grotesque ... but that ego was.

Something about the attitude :::finger snap in a Z pattern::: didn't feel genuine to me, but perhaps it's because I really want to believe that, deep down inside, Danny Noriega has some manners.

TROY: I couldn’t hate on Danny too much (maybe because he reminded me of Christian from “Project Runway,” minus the fierceness). I really do like his voice, but he just wound up picking a horrible song (I actually love the song, but it was a poor choice for him). I didn’t think his snippiness was as obnoxious as Jacuzzi Banana, inching just below Guarini proportions. The pouting has GOT to go though. I’ll give him another week.

TRACY: Jacuzzi Banana? Is your writer still on strike or something? (I kid!)

I have to say, it takes a considerable lack of ego for a guy to compare himself in the looks department to Ellen Degeneres. (She's pretty, but not so much on a dude.) So, good for COLTON BERRY for being an ego-free contrast to Danny Noriega and funny at the same time. And how adorable was it that he sings the Teletubbies theme song when he's nervous? (How likely is it that he knows exactly how adorable it is? Inquiring minds want to know.)

Now you know I loves me some "Suspicious Minds," but I love the song so much, and I found Colton so likeable, that I can't really judge it on the merits of his singing. Teletubbies and my overwhelming adoration of that most excellent piece of music just get in the way. So, I'm punting. Take it away, Troy!

TROY: This is hard for me as well since “Suspicious Minds” is one of my favorite songs of all time. However, I remember when Daughtry annihilated it season four during Elvis week, so that takes away from my bias. I think Colton did a decent job. He didn’t bring anything particularly memorable to the song (unlike No Doubt, who made this song their own - http://youtube.com/watch?v=X7q2nI28hE0), but I like him. A good attitude and nice personality will hopefully take him far.

TRACY: Yeah, I think you’re right. But the Teletubbies! So cute!

So MICHAEL JOHNS decided to play it safe and rehash The Doors "Light My Fire" from Hollywood week, just so we could all ooh and ahh over how he is obviously the second-coming of the late, great Jim Morrison with a dash of Michael Hutchence thrown in there.

Yes, the man can definitely sing, and yes, he practically hits you over the head with his considerable I-can-just-stand-here-and-you’ll-love-me charisma. But sometimes, I just feel like he should be fronting a band. I don't know why, but at times, he looks lonely and weird alone on stage to me.

I guess I liked him enough, but ... bored now. Also, doesn't he seem just a little OLD to you?

TROY: SO old. It’s like he’s 30 or something.

TRACY: Shut it!

TROY: I kid, I kid.

I think Michael Johns could have gone up on stage wasted out of his mind and started singing the Animaniacs theme song and still be met with praise from the judges. They’re in love with this guy, but I don’t quite get it. And since he played it safe, he loses 5 Fonzie cool points from me.

TRACY:
Wow. I just went back through and counted, and I realized I totally left off LUKE MENARD. Which pretty much sums up his performance for me.

TROY: ………..

Sorry, just removing the gauze from my ears. Seriously…Luke was horrifying. Listening to his performance, I keep wanting him to go a half step higher, then lower, and dude could never pull it together. At times, his voice was so thin, I’m surprised it was audible to humans. Luke’s performance wins the “Hot Mess of the Night” award.

TRACY: Hmmm. I still might give my Hot Mess award to Danny Noriega’s ego. But we all know he’s going to stay—and with his pipes, he probably deserves to at least another week.

So, who do you predict will be voted off, Troy? Because I'm in denial about David Yeager's dismal chances, I'm guessing Garrett Haley, for being a non-entity during the audition and Hollywood rounds and for not doing a blessed thing to help himself break out of the invisible box. And perhaps Chikezie, for an awful rant coupled with an awful suit. Dishonorable mention to Luke Menard for being entirely forgettable, though I'm guessing he'll get the "gee-he's-cute-and-has-Patrick-Dempsey-hair" vote from tween and teen girls.


TROY: My ears cannot take another week of Luke Menard. Dude, there is a reason you didn’t make it last year. Additionally, I really want Jacuzzi to go home. Being a total ass does not an Idol make (unless you’re on the frickin’ SOUL PATROL, I guess).

TRACY: Oh, SNAP!

TROY: I hate when contestants talk back to the judges and I hope it results in Jacuzzi packing his bags and getting off my TV screen.

I miss the old format of this show. Split everyone up into three groups and bring back the wild card

4 comments:

Angryromancegrrl said...

You guys sucked me into Project Runway and now..you’re sucking me into Idol. Now, I must start watching so I can play. I'd curse you:::shakes fist at sky:::: but then Troy might go all TYRAde on me and I don't want to scare Tracy.

CFPhilfan said...

Glad to see my Idol, Phil Stacey, mentioned, even though it seems that you think no one remembers him. He's doing pretty well for himself, thank you, with a single climbing the country charts and a cd due in April. And yes, no one can compare to him with his rendition of "Tobacco Road," however well Syesha sings. Sorry, Syesha.

Tracy Montoya said...

It's all a vast, left-wing conspiracy, Sharron. Ha!

Tracy Montoya said...

CF, I thought Phil seemed like a sweet guy. Glad to know that he's succeeding. (We don't listen to country, so it probably would have been awhile before we figured that out!)

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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