Saturday, March 21, 2009

American Idol: Top 11 Recap

TRACY: Troy, I’m so bored with this season, I’m thinking we should have blogged Hell’s Kitchen instead. (Must. Stay. Awake.)

TROY: Too bad you don't watch Dancing With the Stars--unlike this Ambienfest, that's where the real shizz is going down (Injuries! Lil' Kim ... doing ballroom!).

TRACY: All I can say is THANK GOD we got country night over quickly—which can I just say was an egregiously transparent attempt by the producers to save poor Michael Sarver’s boot-ay? I can? OK.

Moving country night to the front end of the season was an egregiously transparent attempt by the producers to save poor MICHAEL SARVER’s boot-ay, and if there were any justice in the world, it SHOULD have been an epic fail. But, of course, it wasn’t.

TROY: The performance itself WAS an epic fail. Jebus, the gargling of words....the trouncing around on stage. Why must America continue to torture us so?

TRACY: He is a nice guy, and as happy as I am personally to see him get a spot on the tour just to get him away from his scary job for a little longer, I still think he’s out of his league. For his health and safety, Homeboy needs to cease and desist with all up-tempo numbers from here on out, unless Seacrest has an oxygen tank at the ready for him after his performance. By the time he’d finished “”Ain’t Going Down ‘Til the Sun Comes Up,” he sounded like he’d just scaled K2 instead of just singing for three minutes. I had a sympathy asthma attack when he was done.

TROY: I'm all for the "Michael Sarver is a nice guy," but he broke the number one cardinal rule of Idol: DO. NOT. SASS. THE. JUDGES. My god -- this man did NOT shut up during his critique. After interrupting Simon numerous times and basically reenacting Justin Guarini's "I respect your opinion, but what did YOU ALL THINK?" tirade, he is dead to me in this competition. Blech.

TRACY: I think I missed most of that, because Maggie and Marin were running around like chickens. That's too bad.

Anyway, am I surprised he didn’t get booted? No, I am not, because I remember that AI has a vast, powerful country-fried voter contingent who managed to keep the abysmal Kristy Lee Cook on the show for faaaaaaaaaaar too long. (To the everlasting chagrin of Maggie, my five-year-old rabid Amanda Overmyer fan, who STILL asks for Amanda whenever the show comes on, even though it’s been a year!)

If you don't vote for the country contestant, you hate America! Sigh.

TROY: I'm not shocked at all--if you even remotely associate yourself with country on this competition, you're guaranteed at least 7th place (exception to the rule being Season Three's Amy Adams who owened "Sin Wagon," but was booted shortly there after).

By the way, I'm sorta missing Kristy Lee Cook this year: the horse snark, the win-at-all-costs attitude she displayed (who can forget her pulling out of "God Bless the USA" when she knew she needed it). Sigh. I hate these contestants.

TRACY: Agreed. At least Kristy Lee provided good snark fodder.

I thought ALLISON IRAHETA was cute (nice outfit!), but unlike last week, that grit in her voice felt forced to me. I wasn’t off my head about her version of “Blame It On Your Heart,” but I was happy that A) she learned how to speak in polysyllabic sentences, and B) she looked comfortable on stage. I also may write in to and ask them where she got her shirt, because … SO CUTE!

I think the shirt alone was worthy of earning her a spot on the tour.

TROY: Ha! I thought she was decent, but nothing spectacular this week. Still, she's also so much more likeable now that she does more than giggling and grunting when asked questions.

One thing for sure is that Allison is definitely one of the best teenagers that has ever been on this show (even though I know you loved Diana "C'mon Ya'll!" DeGarmo).

TRACY: (Not.)

TROY: While I was meh on her this week, I loved Allison's performance last week and am happy she's still in the competition.

How funny was her "OH. MY. GAWD" reaction when Ryan told her she was in the bottom 3?

TRACY: I didn't notice, because I was having the same reaction. Unjust!

Oh, and thank God they brought in a fourth judge this year, because Kara really adds so much originality to the show--like when she told Allison “You can sing the alphabet!”

To which my husband Jose immediately chirped, “I bet you can sing the phone book, too!”

A fourth judge, just to parrot all of Randy’s overused chestnuts? Really? REALLY, Idol producers? Paula may be inarticulate, but I’ve been finding her critiques extraordinarily relevant this year (except when she told Scott not to rely on the piano—good God.) But at LEAST she’s not pulling that phone book/alphabet crap.

TROY: I am very bi-polar about Kara. I loved her petty fight with Bikini Girl (she looked like a damn petty fool, but it brought the LOL), but she really is not bringing anything to the table now.

And how scary is it that Paula is actually bringing intelligent critique to the table this year (when you can understand what she's saying)? Loved the Scott comments and I actually feel bad that she sorta got written off. No one ever recognizes her for the true GIFT SHE IS! (travesty HEY PAULA never got a second season...).

TRACY: KRIS ALLEN has a really nice voice, but I’m not falling off my chair or anything. That said, there’s something charming about a contestant who can do a clear-voiced, stripped-down “To Make You Feel My Love” without throwing in a bunch of vocal sturm und drang just to impress the judges. …

TROY: Again, I really like Kris Allen. "To Make You Feel My Love" is such a saccharine, dopey song, but I still enjoyed his straightforward, simple rendition. I'm not running out to download the mp3, but I appreciate that he didn't IDOLize his performance.

TRACY: Yeah, but just when I start to like him, the camera cuts to his angry 12-year-old wife, and I get a little creeped out. Yes, I know she’s probably of age, but I can’t get the Pedophile Wing of the Playboy Mansion outta my head.

I actually loved Carrie Underwood’s version of “Independence Day” back when she was an Idol contestant, but I was largely underwhelmed by LIL ROUNDS take on the song. I’m not sure why—she hit all her notes. It’s kinda cool to see a woman of color singing country, because I can’t think of a single Latina or African American or Asian female country artist ever in the history of ever. Her raspberry bridesmaid dress was a marked improvement over last week’s tapered, pleated turnip pants. But for me, her performance had all the emotion and depth of my neighbor’s birdbath. Meh.

TROY: Again, while Lil can hit notes, she has not proven that she can saaaang. She is suffering from Carriebot syndrome where there is absolutely no emotion connection to the notes and words she is singing. Carrie seems to have gotten over it, so there's always hope, I guess....

And while I really couldn't care less for Lil's performance, I DESPISED Randy's suggestion that she should have sang "I Will Always Love You." Really Randy? You want Lil' to go for the most-maligned song in Idol history? The most cliched option for an R&B singer to pick on country night? The SONG THAT, HAD SHE CHOSEN IT, YOU WOULD HAVE TOLD HER THAT SHE WOULD NEVER LIVE UP TO THE WHITNEY VERSION? REALLY?


TROY: *Sigh*

TRACY: And she mouthed back to Simon—it wasn’t horrible, but it came off as messy behavior which is not making me a fan. Bored now.

TROY: Agreed. Haaaaate.


TRACY: Heh. We really have to start video-blogging you....

And now, I’m going to get a little angry. Because I loved, loved, LOVED ADAM LAMBERT’s wacky, sitar-drenched version of “Ring of Fire,” and I really didn’t get why Simon lambasted him so thoroughly. I really don’t get how Simon could tell Lil Rounds in one breath to transform a country song into a Mary J. Blige R&B joint, and then get all up in Adam’s face for transforming a country song to suit HIS style, instead of trying to sing like someone he is so obviously not. Having him come on stage and do a hoedown to “That Ain’t My Truck” or “Huckleberry Jam” would have been ridiculous.

TROY: Uh-oh we're in trouble here....I KNEW you'd like his performance. ;)

Now, I LOVED Adam's "Black and White," but this week's performance gets my HOT MESS OF THE WEEK award. The weird sitar strumming, the creepy vocals, I just didn't get it and can't see how it was a pleasure to listen to. Adam's range, while imrpessive, does not need to be on full blast everytime he sings.

Don't get me started on the excessive moaning and self-molestation that occurred on stage. Everyone in America needed four showers after that.

TRACY: I agree--maybe Adam could stand to stop mugging for the camera so much, before he ventures into the Land of Constantine. And with a sizable population of Idol voters coming from the Bible-thumping South, perhaps he might want to rethink the “hip-swivel, run the hand down the thigh, and VOGUE!” choreography—if he wants to sell out and make it on through to the end. But I encourage everyone out there, Bible-thumpers included, to ignore the second-coming-of-Freddy-Mercury theatrics and just listen, because his voice is heaven. (And Michael Sarver and Scott McIntyre's voices? Not heaven. So not heaven.)

TROY: I'm actually prety impressed with America for even keeping Adam in this week. I really thought this week's performance would have had middle America votes running for the hills while clutching to their rosaries. Although I hated "Ring of Fire," I'm glad Adam is in this competition. He brings something different to this competition instead of the blahs projected by everyone else.

TRACY: Note to Randy Travis: Stop being such an asshat, get out of Tennessee every once in awhile (and no, shuffle-stepping from arena to arena doesn’t count as “world travel”), and embrace the fact that not everyone is a macho, cowboy-hat wearing redneck JUST LIKE YOU. “Oooooooh! He has fingernail polish! Get him away from me, or his gay might rub off on me!”

And your wife is a judgmental idiot. Troy, did you see her refusing to clap for Adam and looking like she just got a faceful of acid? Beee-yotch.

TROY: I did! My guess is that her anger was more because of Adam's massacre of "Ring of Fire" and less about the black nail polish.

TRACY: I don't care what it was. It was still rude. She HAS to know the cameras were going to be on her and her overly blow-dried husband!!

TROY: Still so incredibly tacky of her and even less transparent than Gwen Stefani's evaluation of Sanjaya two seasons ago--"I's a hard song. He chose it. Good luck to him?"

TRACY: Brooke White’s Tennielle has found her Captain, and his name is SCOTT MCINTYRE. “Wild Angels” gave me the worst case of sugar shock since I went to the Minnesota State Fair and ate so much cotton candy, I threw up on my Garanimals.

TROY: You're in sugar shock--I'm in a coma. Seriously America? You want to hear THIS on the radio? Scott's voice isn't even good - he's frequently off key, his range is pretty much non-existant, and he constantly hides behind his piano. Totally agree with Paula that he needs to drop that FAST (not that it'll inspire me to vote for him either way).

TRACY: Now THAT I don't agree with. He's BLIND--he can't make eye contact with the audience, so he's just going to look weird and lonely standing up on the stage. But I agree that he should find SOMETHING different to mix it up--say, not sounding like a second-rate singer at church. Again, sweet guy, though. I really like HIM, but I’m not so much a fan of his elevator-esque song stylings.

For some reason, cloying 1970s informercial queen Sandy Patti also keeps coming to mind whenever Scott sings. Back in the day, people used to sell albums via infomercials, and big-haired, sticky sweet Sandy Patti was always hawking her gospel albums on our three channels. If you don’t have a clue who she is, just think about the kind of person who would be named Sandy Patti, and you’ll probably be in the ballpark.

TROY: :::Shudder:::

TRACY: I actually liked ALEXIS GRACE’s “Jolene”—it was so much more technically competent (and less annoying) than Brooke White’s last year. Yes, she might have missed a few notes, but only a few—and just about every contestant has this year. But she has a beautiful, clear voice and she manages to hold my interest on stage.

TROY: You can ice skate to Chicago to see me because hell just froze over--I actually prefered Brooke White's version of this song.

TRACY: ::::google-eyed, incredulous stare:::


I hated the slowed down arrangement of "Jolene" and missed Brooke's bug-eyed, frantic performance. And while Alexis' voice is great, but this song did her no favors. Plus her performance seemed so detached from what the song's plea (still love imaging, "Jolie, Jolie...I'm beggin' of you please don't take my maaaannn").

TRACY: ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?! BROOKE WHITE?!?!?! Ampersand! Pound sign, percent sign, asterisk, ampersand!!!!!!!

I am all KINDS of bitter than she got booted before Michael and Scott. America, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?! I want to find all these people and make them listen to Scott’s iTunes downloads over and over and over again until they come to their senses. This is how people like Kenny G hit the Billboard charts, people, and the madness needs to stop.

TROY: I blame Kara's obsession with wanting to dirrrty up Alexis constantly. She wanted that girl up on the pole and she wanted it baaad.

TRACY: It's true.

And what was up with the judges psychologically torturing her with that final performance. “We’re thinking of putting you through--now sing the song that we hated and convince us! ... Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd no.” That's only funny when you do it to Tatiana Del Crazy.

I think this would have been a perfect time to use the judge’s save, but of course, they’re probably waiting in case Lil Rounds or Danny Freaking Gokey need it. Alexis was totally robbed.

TROY: I am in total agreement. The sing-off is just mean (although we'd totally love it if it was Gokey up there singing for his life--only to get the boot). Heaven forbid the judges actually use their power for someone that's interesting and brings something completely different to this show.

Dirrty or not, I'm really disappointed Alexis is gone, especially when much lesser contestants are still in. Speaking of which....

TRACY: I’m actually surprised at myself, but I thought DANNY FREAKING GOKEY’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” was nicely done. I think it’s a smart strategy to sing a song popularized by the opposite gender, because you can’t help but make it different. Doesn’t mean I’m still not sick of him, but he did a’ight.

TROY: I had to laugh because before Ringy McRinger's performance, Ryan teased that it would be a Carrie Underwood song. I said outloud, "It's so going to be 'Jesus, Take the Freakin' Wheel.'" Lo and behold, look what arch-nemesis performed.

I again just hated this performance. Manipulative and shrewd, it was typical Gokey the entire time. He has decent vocals, but I just don't think I'll warm up to this guy. You?

TRACY: Not so far. But I didn't mind that performance, so maybe it's a start.

ANOOP DESAI played it way too safe for me with a serviceable and technically proficient version of “Always on my Mind.” I think I would have rather seen him try to set it to a hip hop beat or something, because at least Trainwreck Anoop is more fun to watch. Yawn. (Must. Keep. Eyes. Open.)

TROY: I agree. Vocals were fine, but I just wasn't feeling it. Where's the fun Anoop that performed "My Prerogative" or Hot Mess "Beat It" Anoop?

TRACY: MEGAN *cough* CORKREY *coughcough* sounded like she had a speech *coughcoughcough* impediment on “Walking After *cough* Midnight.” What was up with those crazy inflections and bizarre vocal swoops? (“Bah-EYE-uh the MOOOON-laaaaaaaahttt!”) I know there is a really nice voice in there, but she needs to find it, stat—unless she plans on being hospitalized for the *cough* flu every week to garner sympathy votes. And with Widowed Danny, Blind Scott, Michael “I-Have-a-Horrible-Career” Sarver, and I-Live-in-a-Hotel Lil in the competition, there may not be enough *cough* sympathy votes to go around. *coughcough*

TROY: Yeah, totally wasn't buying the flu either. I needed her to yarf on-stage to make it more believable (Kristy Lee Cook would have done it).

TRACY: (She totally would have!)

TROY: For sympathy, Megan should just say her arm has gangrene. I'd buy it.

And weren't you defending Megan's freak-ay voice last week? Another weird song choice with Megan pouting like a 1920s pin-up girl. The schtick barely works for Katy Perry and it's not working for you at all, honey.

TRACY: She does have a nice voice when she's not hamming it up! It was MUCH more affected and weird this week.

TROY: Lastly, did you notice she was just Megan "Joy" this week? The hell?

TRACY: I refuse to acknowledge when the contestants change their names. YOU'RE NOT THAT FAMOUS YET, PEOPLE!!!!

TROY: I guess it's just part of the yearly Idol name drop/change mid-competition (ex: Tiffany Montgomery becoming RYAN STARR...Mandisa "BIGot" Hundley becoming just 'Mandisa').

TRACY: MATT GIRAUD sang “So Small.” He plays the piano. It sounded okay.

TROY: Matt was actually my favorite of the night. There! I said it!

I really like the original and really loved Matt's stripped down version. And, unlike elevator music Scott "Ninth Floor Please" McIntyre, Matt can actually sing! That said, I'm really hoping he finds the right song soon to properly showcase his voice and step away from the pack.

TRACY: I don't know the original, so maybe that's why I wasn't too into this performance. Meh.

GOD, I’m giving them ALL the Lunesta Fairy award—except for Adam and the unjustly ousted Alexis—this time around, because this season is turning into the most incompetent, boring season EVER! (Can you imagine the voiceover possibilities? “In the most shockingly boring episode of the season, all ten contestants manage to put the entire Idol audience into a simultaneous coma. You don’t wan t to miss it!”) God bless Adam. Here’s to him bringing the crazy (and the five-octave range) every week!

TROY: Bet you miss Tatiana now.

TRACY: Strangely enough, I do.

TROY: Troy's Top 3: Matt, Kris, Allison
Troy's Bottom 3: Michael, Scott, GOKEY

Honorable Mention: Thanks to Adam for bringing the crazy (but I'll be sending you my doctor's bill for my bleeding ears and burned corneas)

TRACY: Tracy's top 3: Adam, Alexis, my pillow.
Tracy's Bottom 3: I can pick only three?!

I don’t even know what to say. I hate this season, Troy. I'm giving this show one more chance, and then we're going to start blogging Cooking With Nigella instead.

TROY: The crazy's on DWTS and Top Model! I promise! :)

TRACY: I'm going to go take a nap.

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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