Thursday, March 13, 2008

American Idol: Top 12 Recap

TRACY: Ahhhh, the top 12. Now we only have to snark once a week, Troy, and hopefully there'll be a lot fewer contestants who deserve it.

TROY: Pssh. I disagree. The more trainwrecks, the merrier. Bring on the snark!

TRACY: Yeah, bad singing makes the blog more fun, I agree. OMG, I can't believe I'm actually typing this, but I think CHI-CRAZY EZE turned in my favorite performance of the night! Is that insane, or what?

TROY: I can ice skate to Florida now because, ladies and gentlemen, Hell just froze over.

TRACY: Now, mind you, I haven't forgotten just how postal the dude went on Simon during week one of the semi-finals...

TROY: INSAAANNNEEEE!

TRACY: ...but he scored some points with me when he talked about how "lovable" Danny Noriega was. Not many manly men would have the guts to say something like that and possibly open themselves up to homophobic jokes. And it even seemed genuine, as did the rest of his rather charming interview clip. So, I almost liked Chi-crazy for a moment.

TROY: I will admit that both of these moments made Jacuzzi a tad more likable. While I can't forget the Chi-crazy side, I will admit that I am . . . slightly warming up to the jerk. Maybe he's on some meds now…

TRACY: And then he turned out this foot-stomping bluegrass, completely genius arrangement of "She's a Woman" that I adored. I didn't completely buy the transition from bluegrass to southern-fried rock, but once the latter segment got going, I couldn't help but admire his joyous singing and almost manic stage presence. It was a fun performance, and I've been singing the song all morning. He might be batcrap crazy, but Chikezie deserves to stay for that one. And I'll give him props for finding his manners--took him long enough, but last night he was the person and the performer I'd wanted him to be since I saw and liked his audition. Let's hope he can sustain the fabulousness--and the gentlemanly conduct.

TROY: Well I wouldn't go that far in praising him, but he definitely shined tonight. It was a completely unexpected, yet successful reimagining of "She's a Woman" (unlike some people … but we will get to Tonya Harding Lite later …). I agree with you about his enthusiasm--it was pretty infectious. Damn you, Jacuzzi, for making me like a performance of yours! However, I will NEVER forgive you for getting rid of Danny "Must Watch TV" Noriega.

TRACY: BTW, have you ever seen Seacrest so keyed up over a performance? The guy was almost purple--I was worried he was about to explode right on stage.

TROY: And he was breathing so heavily! Is it wrong that I was kinda hoping for a Marie Osmond moment?

TRACY: My second favorite performance was CARLY SMITHSON's "Come Together." I didn't think there was a whole lot one could do with that song, but she sang the heck out of it. She put her own spin on it, changed up the notes so she could power up a bit here and there, and looked like she was having a grand old timet. All season the judges have been telling her to bring it, and last night, it was totally broughten.

TROY: I don't think it's fair for you to quote a movie you hate (Not Another Teen Movie), but I digress.

TRACY: It was one of the two times I laughed, so I can quote it.

TROY: And … FINALLY! Simon and I must have been on the same page tonight because when Carly was singing, I actually started thinking back to Kelly Clarkson in season one. When she announced that she wouldn't be doing her acoustic performance, I was a little disappointed--mainly because I'd like to hear that take on "Come Together." However, it was unneeded as Carly was simply fantastic. FINALLY!

TRACY: JASON CASTRO's "If I Fell" was a bit of a letdown, not so much for the arrangement or the core of his delivery, but for the cracked, tentative high notes and the slightly scared performance all throughout. Apparently someone isn't in his comfort zone with the Beatles.

TROY: Slightly scared? The boy is TERRIFIED to be up there. I'm guessing someone didn't get to smoke a fatty before going on stage this week. It definitely wasn't the worst performance of the night, but after last week's "Hallelujah," I think we were expecting more from Mr. Castro this week.

TRACY: Oh, and we discovered that he's Colombian, but that still doesn't excuse the dreads.

I know you think DAVID COOK is an asshat ...

TROY: (TOTAL asshat.)

TRACY: ... but he banged out another genius reworking, this time of my favorite Beatles' tune, "Eleanor Rigby." It felt a little off when I first watched it, so I rewound Tivo and discovered why--he threw in a few two-count measures in the middle of a four-count song. Which is not unheard of, but I think some people may have expected him to stay with the four-count beat--Jose said he felt like it was off and he didn't know why. (Of course, when I tried explaining the whole two-count versus four-count theory, he launched into a litany of Naval supply contracting wisdom to head me off, and then we just declared a truce and went back to I-Don't-Get-It-Land together.)

TROY: Wow--you really thought about that one J. I just thought it sucked.

TRACY: I didn't obsess or anything! I just wanted to know why it sounded a little strange. Plus, I really liked it overall, so rewinding wasn't a hardship.

Long story short, the song improved considerably for me upon a second listen. He takes risks, and I like that. He also went onstage without the guitar and didn't look as lonely and pathetic as he did the first time he tried that, so props to him.

TROY: Satan's Combover just isn't doing it for me. I do like that he tries something new and definitely brings a different style to the competition, but that EGO. Yeesh. It was OK, but I could care less about DC.

TRACY: Maggie and Marin immediately dropped the toy airplane they were flying around the room when their favorite, AMANDA OVERMYER, came on. I wasn't particularly in love with her shrieky "You Can't Do That"--maybe because it wasn't a song I'm off my head about in the first place. But Maggie and Marin danced around the room with the sheer abandon only a pre-schooler can posses and made me replay it ... twice. They were gunning for a third, but mommy put the kibbosh on that. I told them it just wasn't good enough this time for a three-peat. Interestingly, they seemed to agree, because they didn't protest when we moved on....

TROY: Why so much Amanda love? That's so funny!

TRACY: I don't know! But it's hilarious--they will literally drop everything to go shake their little groove things whenever she sings! As for my thoughts on her performance ... it was a'ight. I still love her southern-swamp-thing voice, but I hope she chooses a better song next time. At least it wasn't as ear-splittingly awful as that Kansas debacle.

TROY: Another performance overpraised by the judges. It was fine, but Amanda tends to do the same thing where she drunkenly warbles, while spastically convulsing. And BAAAADDDD song choice. If you listen to the soundtrack to "Across the Universe," you can hear Dana Fuchs rock "Don't Let Me Down" and "Why Don't We Do It On The Road." I'd also love to hear Amanda do a softer rock song like "Dear Prudence." Maybe next week, seeing as they are doing BEATLES WEEK AGAIN! ARG! WORST PRODUCERS EVER!

TRACY: I KNOW! That so totally sucks. One week is ENOUGH, you unimaginative FREAKS! Moving on ... I love "Let It Be." I do not love Brooke White. She's basically delivered carbon copies of other people's arrangements all throughout the competition, though she's currently riding on the fact that very few people realize her "Love is a Battlefield" was identical to Pat Benatar's acoustic version of the song (once again, available on her "Live: Summer Vacation Tour" CD.) Jose liked her a lot, but I'm getting more and more disenchanted.

TROY: Poor Pollyanna. I'm not as affronted as you are, mainly because I don't think Brooke has a chance in hell to win this competition. "Let It Be" lite won't be helping much either. Meh.

TRACY: And the CRYING! The rambling! The drunken flailing toward the piano, toward the band, toward the crowd. Ugh. Someone obviously found Paula's secret stash backstage--or she's actually auditioning to joine Pill-a Abdul and the Morphine Drips permanently.

TROY: At least she can form a sentence. Paula's busy trying to string words together like, "Brooke … you sin g… vocals ….I'm a fan … the performance was like a star being caught by an angry alligator with a purse … good job!"

TRACY: Poor DAVID HERNANDEZ. He can't banter, and last night, he turned out a freak show performance. Who DRESSED that poor boy? With the tapered gray pants and white shoes, coupled with his awkward movements, I was half-expecting him to bust into the Peewee Herman Tequila Shuffle at any moment. That was just bad, bad stage presence. What this guy has going for him is not stage-presence or personality--it's that he's good-looking and has a powerhouse of a voice. "I Saw Her Standing There" did not allow him to show off either.

TROY: You'd think that for being a stripper, he could at least dance! Total "go white boy" moves (as interpreted by a Latino).

TRACY: I KNOW! Maybe the only dancing he can do wouldn't be suitable for PG-rated TV. Or perhaps the poor boy just needs a pole.

TROY: I also loved how he kept talking about the "pizza place" he worked at. Riiiiight.

TRACY: Totally. And now we'll probably always have to wonder why it was that the "pizza place" fired him. Sad.

TROY: Vocally, David was a disaster. Oversinging, hammy, and spastic. The boy has powerhouse vocals, but he just doesn't know how to utilize them at all. Whatever.

TRACY: As soon as he finished, Jose turned to me and said, "That was frightening." That pretty much summed it up.

TROY: Ha! Perfect.

TRACY: RAMIELE MALUBAY lived up to her "Lullaby" nickname with a narcoleptic performance of "In My Life." I don't know what's going on with this girl, but the only thing she needs to be singing in public is the jingle for Lunesta. I can't even type anymore, because I'm so bored recalling that mess. I'm guessing that Jasmine Trias's fan base will keep her around for awhile, because those two have a lot more in common than just the fact that they're Filipina. Ay.

TROY: Is it sad that I think Ramiele has even LESS personality than Jasmine Trias? She's cute, and she probably can find a career being the Lunesta fairy. I don't think there is a song choice out there that will make Ramiele anymore interesting or noticeable. Sigh. I can't even pull out good snark for her. Damn you, Ramiele!

TRACY: Luke Menard may only have been gone a week, but SYESHA MERCADO has stepped up (or down?) to take his place as the utterly forgettable contestant of the evening. She didn't sing Whitney (probably because she HAD to pick a McCartney/Lennon song), but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was she did sing. I do remember her awful 80s-valley-girl shirt that looked like she raided Ramiele's awful closet, and her strange sideways ponytail. WHY is the valley girl look--now with a side of schlump--coming back? It was never that attractive to begin with. Someone please stop this insanity.

TROY: Agreed? Syesha is capital B "boring." I'm going to be lazy with this one and just throw out some random "compliments" for her.

- Syesha has really pretty skin!

- Syesha sang!

- Wow, Syesha wore shoes!

- Syesha has an 1866-IDOLS number!

TRACY: Heh. I can honestly say that she has awesome hair. But that's about it.

Our half-Honduran idol, DAVID ARCHULETA, turned in a surprisingly shaky performance. It's hard to believe that after his polished and much-lauded "Imagine" that his stage parents wouldn't have beaten at least one more Lennon/McCartney selection into his repertoire. Someone at EW.com wondered if this wasn't an attempt by the Archuleta camp to keep him from peaking too soon. And while I'm not normally one to buy conspiracy theories, I'm getting my inner Fox Mulder on here. That was totally out of character for the little guy. But I doubt if he's in any danger based on his very strong showings in past weeks.

TROY: Forgetting the lyrics is usually the kiss of death in IDOL land, but David has his past three performances curving him.

TRACY: Not to mention that he has the cute factor of an entire pile of newborn baby kittens.

TROY: I read that, prior to his performance, his father was screaming at him, telling him that he was terrible and would never with the competition. It actually drove David to tears (allegedly!). Remember friends, a vote for David is a vote for creepy stage parenting.

TRACY: POOR DAVID! A vote for him is now a vote to get him AWAY from the creepy stage parents and into a bazillionaire mansion where he can lock the doors and bar them from interacting with him again. I really hate people sometimes.

TROY: I was just about to award him the "Hot Mess of the Night" award, until …

TRACY AND TROY: ... KRISTY LEE COOK!

TRACY: Well, VoteForTheWorst.com has a new spokesmodel after last night. Krusty's tragic "performance" (and I use that term loosely) was an abomination. I understand why she wants to go country with everything she sings, with the judges always on the contestants to find their "identity" as artists, but turning an iconic song like "8 Days a Week" into a square-dancing nightmare is just an insult to two of the greatest singer/songwriters who ever lived. I think that right after she gets the boot (and it had BETTER happen soon, people!), someone needs to frog-march her over the Strawberry Fields and make her apologize for inflicting that travesty on poor John Lennon's memory. I can only hope Sir Paul is still with us and wasn't driven to throw himself under a double-decker omnibus after witnessing what she did to his unsuspecting song.

KRISTY, WHAT DID THAT SONG EVER DO TO YOU! ::::shaking fist toward Hollywood::::

TROY: THANK YOU KRUSTY! We need a hot mess every week or this show gets insanely boring. Fortunately Kristy BROUGHT IT this week with her painfully misguided interpretation of "8 Days a Week," reminiscent of something a drunken country cover band would perform at the Random Lake Firemen's Picnic.

TRACY: (Shouldnt' they have changed that to Firefighter's Picnic by now?)

TROY: And is it just me, or were her vocals at least three seconds behind the music?

TRACY: I don't know. I was too busy trying to staunch the bleeding from my ears.

TROY: This was the WORST performance of the year, and for that, I salute you, Kristy.

TRACY: Maybe Yoko will challenge her to a cage-match throwdown. That's gotta be more entertaining that hearing her ... "sing."

TROY: BTW, when you sent this to me, you forgot MICHAEL JOHNS!

TRACY: OMG, I did! Apologies to Syesha--I guess she wasn't the night's most forgettable contestant.

TROY: Meh. I just can't get into this guy's performance and I am certainly not sensing any of this alleged "charisma" he has. I'm bored. Do you have more to add?

TRACY: I really like the song "Across the Universe," but Michael's performance didn't make me love it any more. He was great in the audition rounds, but now, he's just sweaty and uncomfortable. And a little bit shout-y. I mean, if you put that performance inside a north Florida bar, I'm sure all the drunk girls would think he was the best thing ever. But on American Idol? Meh. (You know, we sound like a couple of goats whenever we talk about Michael Johns. Meh? Mehhhhhh. Meeeeehhhhhhhhhhh!)

I'm writing this prior to the results show: If there is any justice in this world, America will say "Screw you, Kristy, and the horse you would have ridden in on if you hadn't sold it."

TROY: Unfortunately for us, America seemed to have disagreed and on the RESULTS SHOW, decided to send David Hernandez home instead.

TRACY: AAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

TROY: Was it because of the sordid stripping past?

TRACY: :::::banging head on monitor:::::

TROY: The performance from Hell last night?

TRACY: :::leaving the room to go throw things at the TV set::::

TROY: No … what I think did him in was the visual of a "walnut-sized booger" etched into the mind of viewers. Ick! You didn't deserve to go David, but the moral majority, and Krusty fans alike, disagreed. David said this won't be the last we hear of him. I'm guessing it probably is seeing as he'll probably be back working the pole at Dick's Cabare, which probably has a maximum capacity of 300.

TRACY: YOu know, they always say "This isn't the end." But it always seems to be the end. Sad. And David H. SO deserved to at least go on the Idol tour. I'm appalled at this choice and completely disgusted with you, America. I bet France wouldn't have kicked David H. off before Kristy Lee Owmyearshurt.

TROY: In other results show news: Katharine McPhee and David Foster are totally doing it. Gross.

TRACY: She just got married! But you're right--I went back and rewatched as much of that awful performance as I could stand, and there's a big ick factor there. Eeeewwww.

TROY: And the Best. Top. 12. EVAH. have managed to continue their streak of the worst. Group. Sings. EVER. And could Amanda look even more pissed about the Ford commercials and Brady Bunch sings?

TRACY: I know. If you're too cool for the show, go back and sing for the people you're selling respiratory equipment to! (Although I hope it's not too soon--Maggie and Marin would be crushed.)

TROY: See you next week!

TRACY: Same bat-time. Same bat-blog.

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