Tuesday, April 28, 2009

American Idol Recap: Top 6

(We're behind on AI recaps, because Troy's computer imploded. In the meantime, here's last week's, and we'll catch up when his new MacBook arrives.)

TRACY: It’s time for another AI recap, and once again, I am beginning with …

A Most Vehement Protest Against the Misguided Addition of Kreepy Kara to the Judges’ Table.

TROY: Preach.

TRACY: You know, dawg, I have my suspicions that the real Randy Jackson died years ago, and what we have at the Idol judges’ table is a clever humanoid, who will one day peel back his synthetic skin (MOOO-WAAHHHHHH!) to reveal a Terminator-esque adamantium skull underneath, complete with a malfunctioning chip that only allows him to speak variations on ten key sentences.

I told my husband on Disco Night that I feel like my head is going to explode every time he tells someone that they “can sing.” Given that this is a SINGING COMPETITION, isn’t this a wee bit obvious?!?! Seriously?!?! Maybe he could change it up once, and go, “You can really tap dance, man!” At least it would make those of us at home sit up on our couches and stop drooling.

TROY: Wouldn't it be more fun to turn Randy's commentary into a drinking game? Have a sip every time the word "dawg" is mentioned, a shot when he starts off with "you know, for ME...." and just down the whole bottle whenever a song is just "a'ight"

TRACY: And don't forget "pitchy," after which everyone should flip upside-down and have someone stick a bong in their mouth attached to a kegger--mainly as a coping mechanism.

Even though he is the most redundant human being on the face of the planet, he has enough of a benign friendliness about him that I didn’t used to mind his pull-the-string-on-my-back-and-I’ll-say-one-of-five-fun-phrases! shtick. But having Kreepy Kara basically repeat whatever repetitive chestnut he utters (now with buggy, Squeaky Fromme eyes!) is seriously endangering the health of my television set. Why? Because I involuntarily start throwing things at it whenever that horrible woman opens her mouth. Her voice … every word is like someone is driving a nail into my forehead, and I want it to stop. Make it stop, Cecile Frot-Coutaz. I’m begging you.

(Troy, I think you should change your last name to Frot-Coutaz, btw. Just for fun.)

TROY: (Business cards are already being printed up with that change. :) )

TRACY: (EGG-cellent.)

And Kara and her lockjaw can go (which...it sounds like the producers are already trying to set in motion). Here's hoping for some Carrie-style humiliation in the finale episode.

Anyway, first up in the “you can sing” department is LIL ROUNDS, who I have no doubt can sing a decent shower medley. She can sing a lovely church hymn or rock out nicely in her car. Even in a karaoke bar, I have no doubt that Lil could hold her own and--you guessed it--sing. But on the Idol stage? Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Lunesta Fairy Award for the season, right here. She looks cuter and cuter every time she comes out, even though I kinda miss her adorable short hair, but having fun taste in rock star clothes SO does not make one a rock star.

TROY: Lil still an aversion to picking a good song. Do you think she would have been better with "Don't Leave Me This Way?"

TRACY: Maybe, but even that fabulous song didn't do any favors for past Lunesta Fairies Ramiele Malubay and LaToya London any favors.

TROY: Tangent: WTF was up with that disco medley on the results show? Thelma Houston sounded great (although I bet the audience below totally saw her lady parts), but Freda Payne and KC Casey were total messes.

Both reminded me of that "Baby One More Time" reality show where they carted out bands and singers from the past to attempt to relive their glory days, only everyone aged about 30 years, gained 50 lbs. and lost their voices. Sad.

TRACY: I KNOW! It was totally sad, except for Thelma. Although like Paula a couple of weeks ago, her breasts must've been screaming in that dress.

TROY: Anyway....back to Lil. Boring. Safe. Expected. Blah. Don't you feel that we can just copy/paste the past week's commentary of her.

TRACY: And then … there's the backtalking. To be fair, Ryan totally baits her now (Aren’t you disappointed in their critique, Lil? Do you think what they said is fair, Lil? Really, what do you want to say to them in response, Lil?), but she should still have the self-control to not spout off like a messy two-year old every time someone rightfully tells her she delivers copycat, somnambulant performances. To quote the late, great Chris Farley,


TROY: I almost felt bad for Lil (almost!) because she looked so sad when Simon was criticizing her. Then the spouting off at the mouth started, and you KNOW how I feel about that. Alexis Grace was booted for THIS?

TRACY: I know. I am tired of hearing her messy commentary, Troy (Frot-Coutaz). I'm so glad she was unceremoniously booted at the beginning of the results show.

TROY: Kara would get 10 cool points from me if she infused some Tyra-isms into her comments:


Or maybe we could just get Tyra to sit-in instead of Kara.

TRACY: I LOVE that idea almost as much as I loved the idea of adding a coked-up Whitney Houston last year!

TROY: Tyra is a world famous pop start after all. I present to you:

Exhibit A) Tyra's performance as a doll come to life in the Disney Channel original "Life-Size" (costarring Lindsay Lohan).

Exhibit B) Tyra's failed venture into the music with the single "Shake Ya Body."

I digress....

TRACY: So KRIS ALLEN ventured into Allison Iraheta and Jason Castro territory with his pre-song interview. Who knew that the song “She Works Hard for the Money” was so desperately in need of Cliffs Notes?

“It’s about a woman. … And she works hard. … For the money.

THANK YOU! For 26 years, that song has been a Sphinxian conundrum, and I am so relived that someone finally had enough intellectual fortitude and keen insight to decipher that Rosetta Stone of the late disco era for the unwashed masses. Praise the heavens!

Idiot analysis aside, once he started singing, I thought Kris finally had his moment (and without telling us that this was going to be his moment, too). I never really liked that song, but I loved his arrangement with the white-hot fiery passion of a thousand suns. Bongos all around!

TROY: Did you download the studio version? It's pretty great! I don't know if it was quite his moment (the song felt a bit hokey for me)...

TRACY: (Um, hello, disco!)

TROY: ... but he was probably the strongest of the night. Loved that he (Randy-ism alert!) made the song his own instead of attempting to do disco straight-on (see: the epic fail that was Josh Gracin, Season Two, with "Celebration").

TRACY: Ow. You HAD to bring that up....

Anyway, Paula was (gasp) spot-on in saying that it had a Santana-type feel to it. Original, cool, and very fun. And he also made his 12-year-old wife tear up, which was kinda sweet.

TROY: She's looking less and less Playboy each week too! Poor thing, she knows this marriage is doomed now.

TRACY: “September” is, by a light year, my three-year-old daughter Marin’s favorite song on the planet ever in the history of ever. (Nauseating cuteness warning: She actually calls it “Bah-dee-ow,” as in “Can you play 'Bah-dee-ow' now?) So I will leave it to her to critique DANNY FREAKING GOKEY. Here’s how her analysis went down Tuesday night:

Ryan announces before the commercial that someone is going to do Earth, Wind, and Fire.

TRACY: Marin! You love Earth, Wind, and Fire!

MARIN: I love Earth, Wind, and Fire!

We wait patiently for the commercial to end. Marin dances to a few of the catchier jingles.

Ryan announces after the commercial that Danny Gokey will be singing “September.”

TRACY (with marginally less enthusiasm): Marin, he’s going to sing your favorite song.

MARIN (hearing the brass intro): Mommy! It’s “Bah-dee-OW!”

Marin excitedly starts wiggling her little hips back and forth.

DANNY: Do you remember…? The 21st night of September…?

Marin abruptly stops dancing and glares at the television with all the wrath a three-year-old can muster.

MARIN (basso profundo): Mommy. That’s not “Bah-dee-ow.”

TRACY: Yes, it is. … I think.

MARIN: No, it’s not. That’s a mess.

Marin abruptly flounces out of the room, and nothing can convince her to come back until Allison starts singing.

I think that says it all, don’t you?

TROY: I'm so proud. Marin to replace Kara, anyone?

TRACY: Once again, I’m glad Simon is finally showing ALLISON IRAHETA some retroactive love, but I wasn’t off my head about her version of “Hot Stuff.” I actually liked the beginning (which Randy-squared didn’t), but then it just wavered into constipated slurring for me. (For you, for me….) I closed my eyes at one point and just listened, and I realized I REALLY would not want to be hearing that on the radio.

But I hope Simon’s warm-fuzzy streak when it comes to Allison is enough to save her, because she certainly deserved to not depart before Lil or Anoop.

TROY: Let's be honest: Allison blew.

I still love her and that the judges are at least appreciating her now. I thought this was probably her worst performance, but still light years better than anything in the Liloopkey-sphere.

TRACY: And once again, you know I loves me some ADAM LAMBERT, but I was totally, completely bored with his “If I Can’t Have You.” I was hoping he’d actually do it BeeGees-style, with the falsetto and all that, but as I mentioned last week, he has created an unfailing pattern of alternating up-tempo wackiness with deeply felt ballads. This was deeply felt ballad week, and unlike Simon, I wasn’t in the least surprised that he slowed it down right on schedule. Unlike “Mad World” and “Tracks of My Tears,” however, I was uncharacteristically meh about this performance. I figured he'd be safe, but I hope he can actually throw me another OMG! curve ball before the season is over.

TROY: I wasn't surprised either (You can tell what kind of performance you'll get from Adam based on his clothing selection--suit and slicked down hair? That's "Chill Ballad Adam"). I WAS, however, disappointed. Yes, he sounded great (sans screaming at the end--really could have done without that), but the feel was pretty identical to his "Mad World." Adam's the unpredictable one, yet this week he was utterly predictable.

Would "Proud Mary" have counted as disco? Cause I would have LOVED to have seen Adam perform THAT.

TRACY: Totally! But no, that's so not disco.

I’m not sure why Simon was so hard on MATT GIRAUD last week, but I thought his "Stayin’ Alive" was one of the evening’s best. It was contemporary, funky, fun, and wholly original, unlike SOME people. (I’m staring at you, Lil and Anoop.) I thought he was super-cute in his little porkpie hat, and I enjoyed the Justin Timberlake vibe. I did not enjoy the decidedly un-Justin-Timberlake botching of the falsetto, but it was a minor blemish on an otherwise fabulous performance. I call foul, Simon. Matt deserved more love that that.

TROY: See...I think Simon is playing reverse psychology. Anytime Simon gives Matt's performance a positive critique, Matt and his distracting mole (seriously...does that thing get bigger each week?) wind up in the bottom 2.

Matt gave a really strong performance and has come light years from the "Viva La Vida" debacle at the beginning of the competition. I can now be happy that the judges used the save on him since Allison and Adam did not get the boot.

TRACY: Is it just me, or did ANOOP DESAI totally look like Alfred Molina after his character went all whackjob in Not Without My Daughter? Bad, bad facial hair. Very bad. He has a terrific smile, and there is no sense in covering it up.

The singing wasn’t much better than the scruffy goatee. I’m not sure what Randy and Kreepy Kara were pouring into their Coca-Cola cups, but I’m glad it made that performance less painful for them, since they put it squarely in their maddening “you can sing!” category. My ears, my dog, and my daughters were all screaming in pain when he was finished. Awful, awful, awful.

And those stupid little jackets? I am tired of them. Even the yard-flamingo pink vest couldn’t save that boring-ass outfit.

TROY: I miss crazy up-tempo Anoop. He's just so BORING now and has super shaky vocals. At least he's curbed the back-talking, but damn. We should use this time to mourn those that could have been (feel free to cue up Sarah McLaughlin's "I Will Remember You" as you read the following):

- Jessie Langseth
- Alexis Grace
- Rickey Braddy

TRACY: I KNOW!!!! And my boy Ju'not.

TROY: Not surprisingly, Anoop was gonged off the Idol stage on Wednesday's results show (along with Lil ... the Lunesta fairy has left the building, people). Save for the Voldemort of this season (DFG), do we only have good singers left?

TRACY: Dude. That's unprecedented. Although I am bracing myself for the supreme injustice of one of the good singers getting kicked off before Danny Freaking Gokey.

TROY: Troy's Top 3: Matt Giraurd (and the expanding mole), Kris Allen, Ballad Adam (by default)
Troy's Bottom 3: Season 8's Lunesta Fairy and her Attitude, Voldemort, Anoop De-SIGH

TRACY: Perfect. (Although poor Matt! He can't help the mole.) Until next week!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lit Quiz

My friend Liz just sent this via Facebook. Books ... quiz .... It's like a siren call....

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Jeffrey Deaver

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
Pride and Prejudice (normal, annotated, and one with zombies)

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
No. It’s colloquial and suits the style of an infernal Facebook quiz (turned blog entry).

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Mr. Darcy, of course. Oh, and Raphael from Nalini Singh's Angel's Blood.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
This horrible Wild Rose Press erotica “suspense” I had to read for a contest, which shall remain nameless to help the author avoid embarrassment when she comes to her senses in a few years. GAH!

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Maya Angelou’s Letters to my Daughter and Junot Diaz’s The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?
I have no clue. This is probably why I’m not on the selection committee.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
David Weber’s On Basilisk Station. And please, God, don't let Halle Berry play Honor Harrington and ruin yet another booty-kicking action heroine.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
That Scooter Libby travesty.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
Can’t remember any!

14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
Probably that Wild Rose Press erotica I mentioned above. By choice (sort of), Dear John by Nicholas Sparks, which was a book club selection. Let the record show that I did not select it.

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?

Balthazar and Blimunda by Jose Saramago. Unless it’s done by Virginia Woolf, stream of consciousness is the devil.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
The Tempest. Not THAT obscure, but….

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
The French.

18) Roth or Updike?

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Shakespeare, if I was forced to choose, in part because there’s more to love.

21) Austen or Eliot?
Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!?!

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Apparently Phillip Roth.

23) What is your favorite novel?
Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, and all things Jane Austen that aren't Persuasion.

24) Play?
The Tempest

25) Poem?
Diane Wakowski’s “The Belly Dancer”

26) Essay?
Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own”

27) Short story?
with Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” or “The Masque of the Red Death,” and Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?”

28) Work of non-fiction?
Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar’s Madwoman in the Attic.

29) Who is your favorite writer?
In addition to everyone mentioned above, Willa Cather.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Nicholas Freaking Sparks.

31) What is your desert island book?
The Complete Works of Shakespeare. It's a weapon and hours of entertainment in one! And you can squash tasty crabs with it.

32) And ... what are you reading right now?
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (uh, maybe I should revisit that low-brow question….)

Monday, April 06, 2009

American Idol: Top 9 Recap

TRACY: Before we start this week’s recap, let us take a moment to pause and remember Paula Abdul’s breasts, which looked so painfully tortured all smashed together, duct-taped down, and stuffed and steamrolled into that horrible dress, I don’t see how they could possibly have survived. Every time the camera zoomed in on her leaning forward, I reflexively crossed my arms and started whimpering.

TROY: Oh Paula. "Forever Your Girl," but pleaaaase stop shopping at Forever 21.

TRACY: Anyway, just as I predicted after seeing last week’s show, ANOOP DESAI brought the trainwreck back with a cover of Usher’s “Caught Up.”

It’s just a testament to how great that song is that I still enjoyed this performance and went running to iTunes to download the original for my workout mix. (Don’t worry, Troy—I liked it back when it was popular and am not actually discovering it 20 years too late, like I did with Flo Rida.)

TROY: (You JUST discovering "Low" is such a travesty)

TRACY: But Anoop’s take on it? Man.

My main thought is that he really, really has to lose the sneer and swagger, because it’s creepy. Even though he’s a good-looking guy, he has an irrevocable “lovable geek” vibe about him, which makes all that stomping and stalking around the stage in his turned-up-collar shirts purely ridiculous. That had all the street cred of Michael Bolton doing Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.

TROY: I get a little bit of a wannabe-K.Fed vibe from Anoop. Just saying...

TRACY: I think Anoop doing a song like “Caught Up” COULD marginally work if he delivers it with a smile and loose confidence, but that overly serious“I’m a gangsta-no really” schtick he’s been working is just silly.

TROY: "Caught Up" was so not the right song choice. Usher has some awesome songs that would have a) showcased Anoop's vocals and b) been much more of a crowd pleaser. "Yeah" or even "Confessions," anyone?

TRACY: And was it my imagination, or did Anoop TOTALLY TALK SMACK TO THE JUDGES?!?!?! I couldn’t believe it—Idol’s resident nice guy acting like a two-year-old denied a candy bar at SuperTarget. Seriously, man, you need to step up your game AND your manners if you want to20make it much farther in this competition.

TROY: Not your imagination and it totally should have equaled a AUTOMATIC ELIMINATION! He totally had a Guarini face when talking smack too, "I respect your opinion, but I'M AN R&B singer!" Whatever.

TRACY: Another person bringing the trainwreck back was MEGAN JOY CORKREY, with a very hammy, off-key, painful version of “Turn Your Lights Down Low.” I would say that Megan could have been helped by picking a song with more melody, but I don’t think she could have hit those notes, either.

TROY: Holy Smurf, this was bad. Megan Joy (where art thou, Corkrey?) was like a drunk girl doing karaoke, swaying and staggering, totally thinking she is the second coming of Lauryn Hill, but just embarassing the frak out of herself. This was so dreadful, and WHAT was going on with that hair? It was so unwashed and uncleaned that I wanted to perform an exorcism on it.

TRACY: They really should make frozen chopsticks, because I really need to ice down my eardrums after hearing that mess.

DANNY FREAKING GOKEY sang “What Hurts the Most,” about which I would have had fairly benign commentary except for the fact that I had both of this week’s shows on Tivo and watched them back to back.

During the results show, Ryan asked some of the contestants to do some imitations of each other, which they’d obviously been having fun with back at the mansion. Both Matt and Allison’s impressions were charming and obviously well-meant.

But I was stunned (but not surprised) to see DFG continue his “I’m A Douchebag” streak by not only choosing to imitate Matt Giraud’s worst performance, but by literally bleating like a goat during said imitation. Niiiiiiiiiice.

DFG, you and your ginormous ego are dead to me.

TROY: Amen. Unfortunately, I think we're stuck with Danny "What's 'Subtle' Mean?" Gokey for awhile due to the Christian/sympathy vote. The problem is this guy CLEARLY knows he's a ringer and he exploits this. The smug facial expressions! The creepy dance moves! Basically singing the same song every week!

I despise this man.

TRACY: The always charming (if not polysyllabic) ALLISON IRAHETA did a nice version of “Don’t Speak,” but like the judges, I was distracted by that Insane Marie Antoinette impression she was doing on the stage. That dress! That hair! Those horrible, horrible shoes! The pain!

TROY: It's totally fine for us to bash that horrifying outfit, but I'm so mad at the judges for ONLY concentrating on that. This is why Allison unfairly wound up in the bottom 3. Stop telling DFG that he's a god and save the praise for the contestants that deserve it. GAWD.

I'm biased because of my Gwen/No Doubt love, but I really enjoyed Allison's performance. The acoustic portion at the beginning was especially fantastic.

TRACY: She’s also still swallowing her consonants. Doesn’t that Idol voice coach teach these people ANYTHING?!

TROY: It's the braces! Stop making fun of her braces, Stan!

TRACY: Really? Having never had braces, I have no idea whether you need to swallow your consonants to avoid lisping or not. But seriously, if I made AI's top ten and had braces, I think I'd be taking a wire cutters to those things....

Don’t fall over, but I didn’t think SCOTT MCINTYRE was half bad this week. I’m not really a Billy Joel fan, but lots of people are, and Scott’s version of “Just the Way You Are” was emotive and kind of pretty. I thought his piano-playing was stellar, and I didn’t mind his occasional note shriekage.

TROY: I honestly cannot comment too much on Scott's performance because I fast forwarded through it. His 10 minutes of screentime each week make me feel like I'm one of Jigsaw's victims in the SAW movies.

It's like Seacrest's voice each week saying, "Hello, Troy. Do you wanna play a game? How much blood can you afford to lose as your ears bleed in the next two minutes."

That...or I fall asleep instantly. Sorry.

TRACY: Heh. I’m not saying I want him to stay much longer, but I didn’t hate the performance as much as usual. I would love to see him get a job as some famous band or musician’s piano player. (Somewhere where someone ELSE could pick the songs and arrangements for him, but he could still reap the good karma of his sweet personality by making money from his music.)

TROY: He's sassed back to the judges previously! AUTOMATIC ELIMINATION.

TRACY: Oooh, I forgot about that!

And again, Evil Idol Stylists, what are you doing to this poor guy?! Not only have they not fixed the Art Garfunkel hair, they made it exponentially worse by mousse-ing and blow drying it within an inch of its life. It’s not 1983, people! The guy said he’s looking for a nice woman to share his life with, and unless she is also blind, YOU ARE NOT HELPING.

TROY: We should start taking bets on how the AI crew will style him each week. I'm predicted Guarini-sized hair and Miami Vice-style suits for next week...

TRACY: As long as they don't bring out leather pants....

I’m not sure why the judges were so hard on MATT GIRAUD, but I really liked his take on “You Found Me.” I liked the gravel in his voice, and I thought the performance was contemporary and cool. (What was not cool was putting him in the middle of that group of swaying zombies from the Idol mosh pit. I was afraid that any second, one of them was going to jump up and start gnawing on his arm, which distracted me from the singing.)

TROY: I really like Matt, but I was a bit MEH on the performance. The vocals were a bit off (but the studio recording sounds FANTASTIC--go figure). And WORD to that horrible placement of him in the crowd. I really didn't think that would end well.

TRACY: I was also peeved at Simon for laying into Matt for “frowning” at him. Really? Really, Simon?!?! Danny Freaking Gokey, Lil, Michael, Megan, and Anoop all take a turn stomping, whining, and sassing back, and you pick on gentlemanly MATT for FROWNING?!?!?! WTF?!?!?!?!

TROY: Again, all of the judges are on Paula's crack this year (except, oddly, Paula herself. Go figure.).

TRACY: That said, I do understand their feedback that they want Matt to find his niche, but that is no reason to be hyper-critical about a really nice performance.

Oh, LIL ROUNDS. Such a powerful voice. Such a bad song selection. Celine Dion?! Really?

TROY: What's even worse is that Kelly Clarkson KILLED this song season one....and she was deathly ill at the time!

TRACY: It was funny, because the minute she started doing “I Surrender,” I started shrieking “MARY J. WHY DID YOU NOT SING MARY J!?!?!?!” at the television, completely with expansive, Italianate gestures. And then Simon apparently read my mind and asked her why she didn’t do Mary J. Blige’s version of U2’s “One,” which is so utterly kickass, that she wouldn’t have even had to have changed it up and made it her own. If you can actually keep up with the divine (but crazy) Mary J. and sing her version of “One,” which Lil absolutely can, you would have the judges and the audience eating out of your hand.

TROY: Preach. Lil and Scott are in the same "SOS--We can't pick our own songs!" boat. I started fast-forwarding around the :55 second mark...

TRACY: Note to Lil: If the show producers give you another opportunity to haul out “One” during a theme week, for the love of all that is holy, DO IT.

Also, she looked beautiful from the front, but baby got back, and that back in that dress looked like it was about to pseudopod around the stage. She has a slamming figure, but unless we are a size zero with no butt to speak of, the rest of us really need to understand some fabrics REALLY need to be accompanied by a good dose of la-la-la-lycra.

Oh, and another pun on Lil Rounds’ name. Thanks so much, Kara. You really add a lot to this show. ::::icepick::::

TROY: Is Kara the new Dunkleman? Talk amongst yourselves...

TRACY: OMG, she totally is!

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I love the original “Play That Funky Music” (How can you NOT dance when that starts playing?), and I don’t think anyone needs to be messing with it. But ADAM LAMBERT did, and I liked it! It wasn’t going to make me choke up like last week’s “Tracks of My Tears," but it was original and fun, which is more than I can say for a lot of these contestants.

(:::deep Mortal Kombat voice:::: FATALITY. Adam Lambert wins again.)

TROY: "Play that Funky Music," Tracy? REALLY? I weep for your iPod.

TRACY: Mean! I will find your guilty musical pleasure and exploit it seriously next round.

TROY: Adam was brilliant, but I still couldn't get over the fact that he sang this ridiculous song. What's next week? "Ice Ice Baby?" I did read that he wanted to perform "Don't Stop Believing," but wasn't allowed because it was the choice for the group lip-sync on Wednesday. Hmph.

TRACY: Paula continued her bizarre streak of coherence by comparing Adam to Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler, which I have to say is right on the money.

I have to confess, when he was all, “I just have to say a couple of things” right after Simon’s middling-to-positive feedback, I had a moment where I was really scared he was about to lose his shizz and backtalk the judges. (I mean, ANOOP just had!) But to my everlasting relief, he instead took that moment to praise and thank Ricky Minor and the band for his song arrangement. Now THAT is class. Can I adopt him?

TROY: Adam's a real class act this year, which is so refreshing in comparison to all of the other nutjobs this year. Even during the "Ring of Fyyy-yahhh" week, he kept his cool. Here's hoping he continues to get the support he deserves from middle-America.

TRACY: The one thing he MUST lose, though, is the jaunty little pompadour, which was charming during Motown Week and SO not working now. I love Adam’s razored cut, but the Elvis hair just makes him look like a Baldwin brother with a sad Dippity Do addiction. Curse the judges for overpraising how he “cleaned himself up” last week, because he’s great just the way he is, black nail polish and all.

You know, I totally would be writing about how KRIS ALLEN just had has Idol Moment with his utterly, utterly perfect “Ain’t No Sunshine,” if he hadn’t spent his entire interview package telling us that he was going to have his Idol Moment. AWWWWWKward.

TROY: You totally read my mind. You can't FORCE a moment...it just has to happen! If Kris wouldn't have kept campaigning, it totally would have been his moment. Either way, I loved the performance, even if the song wasn't as modern of a choice that I was hoping for.

TRACY: The strings were genius, though, and so was the singing. I wish he hadn't spoiled his moment with the verbal neon signs....

(And there was his wife, Anger Management Barbie, again. How do you get married at 12 and not have to work for a living? It’s all just lending further credence to my theory that she escaped from Hef’s clutches.)

TROY: She doesn't work??? Whaaaat!

TRACY: And then we had the results show, where Megan Joy Corkrey managed to not only get the boot, but to kill any hopes of a post-Idol contract.

What’s up with the insane CAW! on her way to the Stool of Doom? It was marginally okay after “Rockin’ Robin,” but on results night? And all that hopping around and hammy facial expressoins?

TROY: So MY theory is that she must have had Jason Castro's room and started taking some of whatever he was on. That girl was frakked up and I LOVED it. This was probably the biggest meltdown ever on the Idol stage and it will live on forever on my Tivo.

TRACY: After that mess AND sassing back to Simon about not caring about his feedback (and, by association, the competition), I think Megan not only drove a stake through her fledgling career, she drowned it in holy water, pelted it with crosses, and forced it to eat garlic. GAH. I would otherwise have been sad to see her go before Scott or Gokey, but seriously. That was bad.

TROY: But she has all of her FANS! "Megan Joy--'Where Did My Name Go?' Warbles The Hits" coming to a Walgreens 99 cent bin near you!

Also, I loved Lady Gaga's hot mess of a performance on the Results show. I do love "Poker Face", but what was that???

TRACY: The second Hot Mess of the Night, after Megan CAW! Corkrey.

TROY: (And Gaga says she's 23...um...someone's on the Catherine Zeta Jones age scale).

TRACY: Tracy’s top 3: Kris Allen, Adam Lambert, Paula Abdul’s chest for living to see another day

TROY: Troy's Top 3: Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta, The Ghost of Tatiana Inhabiting Megan's Body on the Result Show

TRACY: Tracy’s bottom 3: Megan CAW! Corkrey, Anoop Desai’s attitude, Danny Freaking Gokey’s ego

TROY: Troy's Bottom 3: Megan Joy's "Vocals" and smelly hair, Jigsaw McIntiyre, Danny Gokey's face

American Idol: Top 10 Recap

TRACY: I let us fall behind, so we’re catching up with a two-fer Idol recap post.

Before we get to the songs, Troy, I just have to ask, are Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta the only two contestants left who haven’t snarked back to the judges?! For a group that seems to get along so well, too many have a disturbing habit of forgetting their manners when they’re up on the stage listening to feedback. Sad.

TROY: I believe you're correct...and you know how much I HATE when the contestants sass back. Seriously, I think there needs to be a rule that once a contestant talks back to a judge, they are eliminated on-the-spot.

TRACY: Anyway, two weeks ago was Motown Week, and I have to say, I ADORE Smokey Robinson. He may not have had much to offer in the way of constructive criticism, but he has such a lovely personality to go with that amazing smile, I think he still managed to teach the contestants something, i.e. how far grace and warmth can take you in the music business, when they’re added to heaps of talent.

TROY: I agree and he seems super nice and is obviously a legendary talent, but ZZZzzzZzZZZZZzzzzz... Can we get a guest mentor who tells the contestant like-it-is? Raw honesty may have prevented us from having to endure Michael Sarver's massacre of "Ain't Too Proud To Beg"

TRACY: More on that, later. For once, most of the contestants managed to at last demonstrate why they made it into the top ten. So I guess we can put off recapping “Cooking with Nigella” for at least another week, Troy.

TROY: My Tivo is on standby for that season pass...

TRACY: As it probably should be....

Leading off that "FINALLY showing some talent" group was MATT GIRAUD, who knocked it out of the park with “Let’s Get it On,” completely obliterating my traumatic memory of last year’s Jared Cotter grinding and running his hand down his face while SINGING IT TO HIS MOTHER!!! GAHHHHHH!!!!!!

TROY: Thanks for that reminder--BLECH.

TRACY: Anyway, for once, I have more to say than, “Matt played the piano. He was a'ight.” Although he had a couple of wonky notes, overall, he worked it out. Good on ya, Matt!

TROY: Matt's one of my favorite contestants and this song definitely suited and showed off his mad vocal skills. However (this may be blasphemy), I'm just not a big fan of "Let's Get It On." I get that it's a classic and there are some awesome riffs, but it just sketches me out (probably because of Mr. Cotter's...uh..."interpretation").

TRACY: (Excuse me. I think my skin crawled into the next room while I was having the Jared Cotter flashback, and I need to go retrieve it.)

Another person who shocked me into REALLY liking him was KRIS ALLEN, with “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You). The 12-year-old wife was still in attendance (Doesn’t she have anything else to do other than camp outside the Idol mansion to beat off Kris stalkers, say a JOB?!), but I managed to focus more on his singing this time, which was terrific. I really, really liked him.

TROY: His poor wife! She so did not know what she was getting into when Kris was selected for Idol. If she sees what you're writing about her, you may have a new Debbie Gibson on your hands.

TRACY: You KNOW Debbie's "fan" is totally going to see this now. Nice one.

TROY: I've been a big fan of Kris' since the beginning and I really enjoyed this performance. It wasn't a MOMENT yet (it wasn't even Chris Klein/Meni Suvari's rendition in "American Pie"), but it was miles ahead of certain other people in this competition COUGHmeganCOUGH

TRACY: I also figured out why he was bugging me during the last few weeks. He looks like a white Enrique Iglesias, which added an even bigger ick factor to his performances for me than his angry pre-adolescent spouse. But now that I've figured it out, I have acknowledged the disturbing association and have moved on completely. I now like Kris a lot—he was fab.

Also … loved the shirt! (Although was I the only one who thought it might have the numbers from “Know1ng,” that new Nicholas Cage movie, running along the bottom)?”

TROY: Really? I was going to say that it looked like a computer virus was taking over him. The idea was cool, but employing the "less is more" strategy would have been very beneficial.

TRACY: SCOTT MACINTYRE was all over the place, except for on the right notes with “You Can’t Hurry Love.” He has a tendency to randomly shriek select notes here and there, so it was more like, “You CAN’T! HurRY LOOOOVVVE!!!” Ouch.

TROY: Again, the idea of reworking "You Can't Hurry Love" into more of a ballad is interesting, but Scott does not have the chops to pull it off. Again, super talented PIANO player, but just not a good singer. I definitely think he's our Lunesta Fairy this year.

TRACY: Agreed. And the pink pants?! MY EYES!!!! THEY BURRRRRRRRNNNNNN!!!!

TROY: The pink pants earn the EPIC FAIL award for this week. Jebus they were baaad. Like Clay Aiken-"Grease"/red leather jacket bad....

TRACY: Props to Scott for engaging in some pretty funny repartee with Ryan over said pants. Who is dressing this poor boy?! For the love of all that is holy, please STOP IT!!!! I think he'd do better if you dropped him in the middle of Macy's and told him to have at it.

He’s blind. That just ain’t right.

I have to say, during the results show, when Scott sang a little solo snippet in the Motown medley, I realized that he’s not all that bad when he’s not turning every song known to humankind into a Kenny G./Michael Bolton EZ-Cheez-fest.

TROY: It also proves that Scott cannot choose a song/arrangement to save his life. I'm so not a fan.

TRACY: You know I’ve been a fan, but MEGAN JOY CORKREY blew huge, gelatinous chunks with “For Once in My Life.” Even though Kara’s freakish intensity scares me sometimes, I think she was right on the money when she said Megan should have sung “My Guy,”—something fun and light in a slightly higher register.

Although perhaps it wouldn’t have been quite as painful if she’d actually managed to sing more than two notes in key. Ay.

TROY: Can you imagine a Megan drinking game? Have a shot everytime the girl goes off key! You'd be completely gone by the end of her 1 1/2 minute song.

Megan was horrifyingly bad.

TRACY: ANOOP DESAI did a terrific job with “Ooooh, Baby, Baby,” a beautiful ...


TRACY: (Stop that! I love that song!)... song that really is all over the place melodically, and so difficult to sing. Anoop has a fab falsetto and unlike the person who came before him, managed to hit most, if not all of his notes.

However, what was with the funereal facial expressions? He looked like he was going to follow the “ooooohhh, babyyy, babyyyy,” with “someone just ran over my dog, and I am taking Cymbalta for my depression.”

Love that Randy asked him to bring the “energy” back. Next week, Trainwreck Anoop! Whee!

TROY: Thank God! Anoop's only saving grace is that he's a trainwreck when hopped up on "ENERGY." He reminds me a bit of Jessie Spano during her "caffeine pill" incident. Good times...

TRACY: MICHAEL SARVER was an unmitigated disaster of gargantuan proportions, and I am so glad he got the boot. “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” is bar none my favorite Motown single from back in the day, and he slaughtered it. Listening to that mess was almost as traumatic as that time I watched Grandma behead chickens on the farm when I was five. (Did you know they actually do run around for awhile after you chop off their heads? :::shudder:::)

TROY: Lots of pleasant imagery in this recap today!

My feelings on Michael Sarver have been pretty clear since the beginning of the season. Not said to see him get the boot at all.

TRACY: LIL ROUNDS sang “Heatwave.” It was VERY competent, but overall, I am still kinda meh about this girl.

TROY: Lil never has an emotional connection to her song, creating the MEHs. Plus, "Heatwave" blows on Idol (Kimberly Locke ruined it for me in Season Two--back when Simon dubbed her the "Burger Queen").

TRACY: I was not at all meh about her cute fringey dress, though. She looked slamming in that frock, although I could have done without the horrible wig. Maggie and Marin have a toy box of dress-up clothes, and that thing on Lil’s head looked like their acrylic Morticia Addams wig after it’s been sitting crushed into the bottom of the box for a few weeks. She’s a gorgeous woman, but the bad wigs, man…. Painful.

So even you, who have not jumped on the ADAM LAMBERT train as wholeheartedly as I have, MUST admit that he did an American Idol performance for the ages with “Tracks of My Tears.” That was … that was … words cannot express how fabulous, how perfect, how utterly wonderful that was.

But I will try, because it’s my blog. Adam just showed all of the haters that he can indeed tone down the theatrics and the vocal bombast, and underneath the showman, there is one kickass musician.

TROY: I loved Adam! I've said that he's one of my favorite contestants this year! At least when he sucks (see:"Ring of FYYYY-YAHHH"), he remains INTERESTING.

I wasn't all that familiar with "Tracks of My Tears," but it was so nice to see Adam tone it down and really have a MOMENT. He was utterly fantastic and I have no snark for him this week.

TRACY: Ever since I had my daughters, I have a tendency to cry when I hear beautiful music (and watch sappy Hallmark commercials, but that’s another story). I have to admit, I got a little farklempt during Adam’s performance, and almost lost my mind when Smokey Robinson gave him a second standing ovation. (The first doesn’t count, because those goobers in the audience jump to their feet for everyone. Megan could caw an entire song, and I think they’d still give her a standing O.) SO gorgeous.

TROY: Crying over IDOL? You really just admitted that now? Really? :)

TRACY: Quiet, you.

I think the suit and slicked back hair was a nice change, but I hope that’s going to be the exception rather than the rule. I love Adam’s look, and I don’t think he should change a thing.

If I didn’t like snarking over this show so much, I’d just say these people should save the world some time and just declare the boy the winner.

::::deep Mortal Kombat voice:::: FATALITY. Adam Lambert wins.

As an aside, when is Kara going to relax? Those bugged-out eyes! That freakishly intense delivery! Those erratic, axe-murderer hand gestures! I feel like she’s going to run up on stage and drive an icepick into the contestants’ foreheads every time she finishes her commentary. “I’ve got SIX! WORDS! FOR! YOU!!!!! ONE! OF! THE! BEST! PERFORMANCES! OF! THE! NIGHT!!!!!!” ::::::icepick:::::

(BTW, I feel compelled to point out that that was eight words. I’m just saying.)

TROY: There's a bunch of reports that the rest of the judges despise Kara, so I'm thinking that the frantic delivery and gestures are part of her trying to prove herself or something. She's really useless, isn't she?

TRACY: Totally. I did not hear that about the other judges hating on her, but it gives me hope that they'll give her the Heisman before next season.

TROY: One benefit to the Kara addition is that she's really made PAULA step up her game this year. Articulate and constructive, I'm appreciating "the gift" more and more each week.

TRACY: That brings us to DANNY FREAKING GOKEY, whose dancing was so spazzy and epileptic, I had a hard time concentrating on the singing. His “Get Ready” was okay, but it wasn’t enough to make me like him or his attitude any more.

TROY: The dance moves! For the love of God, those DANCE MOVES.

TRACY: And did I miss something, or did this guy TOTALLY DISS SMOKEY ROBINSON?!?!?! He’s all, “I’m going to listen to Smokey’s suggestion to sing the backup part, because he’s been in this business lo nger than I have.” And then he gets up on stage and blows him off?!?! Let me say that again—Danny Freaking Gokey BLEW OFF SMOKEY "I have 37 top 40 hits" ROBINSON.

TROY: Sally Jessie Rapha-gokey is an asshat. I can't even snark properly because my haaate for him is so strong.

Enough said.

TRACY: I’m done with him. The Danny Freaking Gokey train has left the building, and I am running madly in the opposite direction with my hair on fire. What a tool.

I didn’t think anything could make me love a performance of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” more than the unjustly ousted David Hernandez’s fab version from last season, but ALLISON IRAHETA totally laid down the funk and killed it. I think she’s terrific.

TROY: I've said it once, and I'll say it again, Allison is the best teenager this show has ever had (suck it, Jordin Sparks). I know it took a little bit for me to warm up to her, but I find her super-awkwardness very endearing and the girl can saaannng.

TRACY: That said, she really needs to start paying attention to her consonants, because she tends to swallow them. “Pa’a wahnuh rolllinnnnn stoooooooooohhhhhhhh! Wherevahhh heeee leeeehhhh hi’ hah wahn hin hoooooooome.”

Enunciate, chica! Eeee! Nun! Seee! ATE!

So all in all, a great show that didn’t come anywhere near the somnambulance of the last couple of rounds. I was glad to see the out-of-his-league Michael Sarver go. (Alexis Grace was so totally robbed.)

TROY: I agree--if only it could have been a triple elimination with Scott and Megan following him on the way out.

TRACY: Tracy’s Top 3: Adam Lambert; Adam Lambert again, because he deserves two spots; and Kris Allen.

TROY: Adam was great, but show Allison some love and your list is perfect.

TRACY: Tracy’s Bottom 3: Megan CAW! Corkrey, Scott McIntyre, Michael Sarver (by a mile)

TROY: WORD to this

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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