Thursday, December 23, 2010

Worst. Christmas Carols. Ever. (2010 verson)

As some of you might remember, every year my brother Tom and I get our inner Grinches on and post our Annual List of the Worst Christmas Carols Ever. This wonderful holiday tradition continues below.

If sarcasm and general crotchety-ness puts a damper on your Christmas spirit, you’ll want to stop reading now and go hug an elf or continue spreading sunshine and lollipops and wherever you take your relentlessly perky self, because we’re just not your kind of people.

If not, welcome, friends--read on, and feel free to add your own.

TOM: I’ll start with “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” by Chicago. So Chicago decided in 2003 to put out a Christmas album. And they decided to add this "gem." This one just reeks of desperation. They are trying to sound young, hip, and rockin', and it really is just a sorry effort.

TRACY: Oh, my God, Chicago. The new lead singer on this album (new being relative, since the last time Tom and I listened to them was in 1987 when they still had Peter Cetera) is awful! It sounds like some garage band found some overwrought lead singer from the Sheboygan Press classifieds and somehow blackmailed Chicago’s brass section into playing in the background. (Chicago’s brass section = still awesome.)

TOM: There is only one Chicago and that is with Peter Cetera at the helm.

TRACY: Let the church say “Amen!” If Chicago wants to continue releasing albums, they need to get Peter Cetera back.

TOM: Of course, he is suffering from the same disease as Dennis DeYoung and Steve Perry in which a lead singer believes that he is better than the band, leaves, and both of them become a joke. (Gwen Stefani had it briefly, but was cured, and Eddie Vedder has avoided it.)

TRACY: Well then, they need to go to the Philippines and find some dude who sounds just like Peter Cetera.

TOM: Just as long as they don't do a reality show!

TRACY: Here’s my first pick: On the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death, we have ... The Radio City Rockettes, step-kicking all over his brilliant musical legacy with their version of "Happy Christmas (War is Over)."

Dear God, there are no words.

Oh, wait. Maybe there are a few.

Dear Radio City Rockettes,

I understand that you are collectively a New York City institution, and no amount of feminist sturm und drang is going to get you to trade your pasties and fringe for business suits and briefcases. I get that. You were blessed with fabulous legs, and you like showing them off. Fine. And okay, I understand that maybe an hour silent can-canning might be boring, so you feel you have to "sing" to give the public their money's worth. But really--John Lennon?

The man is a legend. And you? You are basically 47 pairs of legs and a bunch of feathers. Musical legend + legs and feathers = a whole lot of disrespect.

Please stop. Now.



TOM: P.S. Any further listings of the Lennon song should no longer have Yoko Ono's name attached. She can attach her name to the Rockettes' version.

Next is “Sleigh Ride,” by Andy Williams: I do like some Andy Williams Christmas songs, but this is a mess from start to finish. It starts with the backup singers singing "Jing-a-ling, jing, jing-a-ling" and goes downhill from there. My biggest complaint is the music. Close your eyes, concentrate on just the music and not the vocals, and then imagine listening to Rod Roddy describes the prizes in the showcase showdown. It is straight out of the Price is Right. (RIP Rod Roddy. Wesside.)

TRACY: I take your Andy Williams “Sleigh Ride” and raise it by one Debbie Gibson’s “Sleigh Ride.”

How we let this one get past us for so many years is a gross oversight--one that I will rectify immediately. This one is so painful, it makes my ears hurt to even recall it. Now I never had a problem with Debbie Gibson in the 1980s. I wasn't a huge fan of mall pop, but I sympathized with the media's manufactured rivalry between her and Tiffany, and I respected that she wrote her own mall pop songs. But then she became an obnoxious adult who pretty much sets my teeth on edge every time I see her on my television. Watch the Broadway-themed extra on the Beauty and the Beast Blu-ray, and you'll see what I mean. Everyone else says something along the lines of, "I loved playing this role so much, and having it on stage was awesome." But not Debbie. Debbie is all, "Blah, blah, blah, me, me, me, I was Belle on Broadway, me." And her back-talking stint on Skating with Celebrities still makes me want to jab my eardrums out.

So I was driving along the other day, and this horrible, horrible version of "Sleigh Ride" came on. After about two seconds, I said to myself, "Who is this insipid person who is ruining one of the most beloved Christmas carols of all time?" I looked down at my satellite radio display, and sure enough: Debbie Gibson.

If her nasal, entitled voice isn't enough to make you take a hammer and chisel to your radio, then the backup singers shrieking "SLEIGH RIDE! SLEIGH RIDE!" every second beat might just do the trick. (SLEIGH RIDE!) Because unless you're playing this version (SLEIGH RIDE!) for a group of people with severe short-term memory problems (SLEIGH RIDE!), there is absolutely no reason to yell the name of the song (SLEIGH RIDE!) over and over and over again.

TOM: C'mon, this is the woman who gave the world "Shake Your Love." What a delicate genius!

My next pick is a two-parter. These are both from the long lost Star Wars Holiday Special. I am a huge Star Wars fan, but I can't bear to watch this craptacular. The first is the song that Princess Leia does. I don't even know the name, but the Unintentional Comedy Scale is off the charts. I don't know where to start--the Wookies in Snuggies, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill trying to look interested like it is a deep song, or trying to figure out how coked up Carrie Fisher is.

TRACY: (Answer: SO coked up. Bless her heart.

TOM: The scenes from Star Wars that have been crowbarred in are a nice touch. We should have never let George Lucas be in charge of the prequels after seeing this:

The other song is Bea Arthur's appearance as a bartender in the special. She serves as a great example by letting aliens pounding on tables influence her to ignore the legal bar time and serve up another round. Plus she does it on the house! Not only does she flaunt her disregard for the laws of the government, but she also is harming the company's bottom line! Plus, she doesn't call a cab for the huge, obviously drunk alien at around the 2:30 mark. Hey, and is that Greedo in there?! I though he was dead! The most egregious thing is that they writers thought "Hey! Let's take the Cantina Band Song that everyone loved from Star Wars, slow it down and take down a key, and make a new song!" Booooooooooo!

TRACY: I’d add my own take, but I’m laughing too hard. Let the nation be warned—you don’ta mess wit’ the Star Wars. Or suffer the wrath of Tom.

Boney M makes an appearance for the second year in a row with it's "Mary's Boy Chil'/O My Lord." .

TOM: I believe Boney M. is a two-time winner! .

TRACY: This song is a franken-mess of "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," a group of insane people humming, a Davey Jones impersonator, and a very poor group of singers with exaggerated Caribbean accents--set to steel drums and a "reggae" (I use that term loosely) beat.

My Christmas wish is for Germany to deport these people someplace where there is no studio recording equipment.

TOM: “A Child is Born,” by Rihanna: Yes, I get that she is from the Bahamas, but I still don't like this Rasta sounding song. When I hear it, I think of the Baby J, in a manger with dreds, watching Cool Runnings and drinking Red Stripe beer. If a stereotype had a sound, this album would be it.

TRACY: Even though Jessica Simpson's album "ReJoyce" (still don't know who Joyce is) was quite enough, thankyouverymuch, Papa Joe Simpson, the world's creepiest father who is not a child molester, had to trot Jessica out one more time for yet another round of Christmas carol massacre. And so we get "Happy Christmas" (because obviously she now thinks she's British), a collection of holiday favorites set to the dying gasps of her career.

.Our brother Troy subjected us to said album (much like the people in that notorious group-think experiment were subjected to increasing bursts of electroshock) this past Thanksgiving, and I can safely say I will not be hurrying over to iTunes to purchase it.

The biggest Christmas sin on this album (besides her porn star version of "Happy Christmas (War is Over" and bringing in sister Ashlee to "sing" with her) was the breathless baby voice she uses for EVERY FREAKING SONG. Two seconds of Madonna's "Santa Baby" is about all any sane person can take of a grown woman infantilizing herself by singing like a two-year-old with a speech impediment. The world did not need an entire album of that kind of mess.

My least favorite (and it was quite the competition) would have to be her version of "Mary Did You Know?" I already discussed the idiocy of this song's lyrics last year, when I chose any and all version of it as one of my least favorites.

(Recap: ["My biggest problem with this song] would be lyrics like this one: 'Mary, did you know that your baby boy is lord of all creation?' "I'm just taking a stab here, but after receiving a prediction from her cousin Elizabeth, a VISIT from an ARCHANGEL, a giant star floating over her head for days on end, three kings visiting her in a freaking stable, and a heavenly choir of cherubim and seraphim singing in the sky shortly after she gave birth, I'm guessing that she does, Captain Obvious.")

But Jessica's version now has the honor of rising above the rest as my most hated version of this song. She sounds like she wants to make out with Mary, and that's just WRONG, people.

TOM: This is where I need to insert a song that HAS to be made: John Mayer doing "This Christmas. It doesn't exist, but it needs to just for the fact that I would love to see Jessica Simpson listening to it at home thinking, "Please let it be this Christmas, John. Waaaaaahhh!" That would be just punishment for this basura!

My next actual pick is an album. Actually, the music on this album isn't so bad—my problem is the name of the album. When it was released, it was probably okay, but now, it could be the scariest Christmas album in history. It is "A Christmas Gift to You from Phil Spector."


Thanks, Phil, for the Ronettes and Darlene Love! And, is that a gun in your hand? What is up with the weird hair? You want to put the gun in my mouth?

I would love to see the sales figures on iTunes from that one.

TRACY: I've gained a lot more respect for Josh Groban since he poked fun of his own image on Glee and added his vocal stylings to Sarah Silverman's "I'm F---ing Matt Damon." (Hilarious!) So even though I've bashed him pretty much ever year since we started doing this, I decided to give him another try when he popped up on Sirius singing "O, Holy Night." Let the record show that I tried, people.

I think he needs to change the name of his version of the song to "O . . . . Holy . . . . Night." Because he sings … so … slowly … it's a wonder that the lyrics don't start coming out of his mouth backwards. "O Holy Night" is one of my favorite carols ever, but I can't take Josh Groban making it sound like a funeral dirge. Whatever happened to raising me up, Groban? Your "O Holy Night" just makes me want to dress in sackcloth and ashes and go mourn something.

That's all we've got this year! Please feel free to add your un-favorites below. And if you want to check out our Worst Christmas Carols Ever lists of years' past, find 2009 here:

2008 here:

and a Hall of Shame combining 2007 and 2006 here:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

American Idol: Top 12!

As always, I'm bringing in my brother Troy for our joint recapping of American Idol's top 12. Enjoy!

TRACY: Well, Troy, another year, another American Idol top 12.

TROY: Another year of Tracy and Troy week-late recaps!

TRACY:Ready to go?

TROY:Bring it.

TRACY:So far, I’ve been pretty meh about this year’s group of singers ...

TROY:(You mean Idol’s WORST. SEASON. EVAH?)

TRACY:...especially after last week’s Elimination of Bitterness, which resulted in the demise of one of my favorite singers, Alex Lambert. I think Lily Scott was totally robbed, too, and I even feel insulted for Katelyn and Todrick, because both of them had enough original spark that they deserved to outlast the plain vanilla likes of Katie, Paige, and Tim.

TROY:WORD. But I’d like to also add in Lacey to that pile of shame (although, really, isn’t that just adding insult to injury now? Plus I know you liked her….)

TRACY:(I did.) But there’s no judges’ save in the semis this year, so the Idol juggernaut juggers on without Alex and his Plushenko hair. Sick and wrong, man.

TROY:But there is a judges’ save for the top 12! Thank god. This way America won’t let Aaron Kelley slip through the cracks.

TRACY: The horror. On to last Tuesday night. I never realized how much I actually love the Rolling Stones until I heard their truly, massively awesome song catalog aurally drawn and quartered last Tuesday night. After I staunch the bleeding in my ears, I think I’m going to find one of their greatest hits compilations and crank it until the urge to down a bottle of lithium and make the bad man singing reggae go away leaves my restless mind.

TROY:Agreed! I tend to make fun of the ancient Stones (Super Bowl halftime show? Really?) and was griping about how much I was expecting to hate this episode. Instead, I found myself loving most of the songs (if not the contestant massacre of most).

Mick Jagger--I salute you (but am still creeped out by some of Mackenzie Phillips’ recollections of him).

TRACY: Oh, you had to bring that up. Ick.

First up was MICHAEL LYNCHE, who delivered a mildly pleasant take on “Miss You.” I just don’t get all the love for this guy. He seems super sweet, and my heart grows three sizes whenever Fox shows his new baby. If were voting for America’s Top Next-Door Neighbor, Big Mike would get my vote 100%. But singing? I’m just sort of meh about him. He’s pleasant to listen to, but for some odd reason, I always find myself comparing him to Seal. And he always loses.

TROY:WORD. I’m still baffled over what triggered Kara DioHotMess’ tears o’ shame last week, but it certainly can’t be Big Mike’s performance. Totally a nice guy (although seemingly pain-inflicting, given his ketchup bottle-squeeze hugs on Ryan), but I can’t handle him each week. I get flashbacks to Matt Rogers and that is NOT a good comparison. Meh.

TRACY:Plus the dancing. Oh, the dancing. If you painted Michael green and gave him little trumpet-shaped ears, he’d be a dead ringer for Shrek cavorting in the swamp to “I’m a Believer.” Not hot.

TROY:Let’s be honest … this guy is Velveeta and we’re looking for the American Idol, not the next Universal Studios tour guide.

TRACY:I’ve liked LACEY BROWN a LOT more than the judges have so far in the competition, and I totally get her groovy signature warble. But I thought she jumpin’ jacked UP “Ruby Tuesday,” one of my favorite Stones hits. Staying on key would have been a good start, but there was something too painstakingly deliberate about her delivery last night. Feel the song, honey. Just feel the song.

TROY:I’ve kinda hated Lacey Brown. Sure, she has great hair and, in my opinion, is really gorgeous, but she has a voice could herd cats. Screechy and bleaty, I felt like you could play a drinking game with her performances (“Drink everytime she goes off key!” – you’ll have severe alcohol poisoning at the end of 2 ½ minutes).

TRACY: Mean!

It probably would have been deemed too copycat, but I’ve thought since the beginning that she’d sound gorgeous doing The Sundays’ version of “Wild Horses.” (Curse you, Katie Stevens!!!!)

TROY:You Buffy nerd (but I totally thought the same thing).

TRACY: Let the record show that I liked that verion long before it was on Buffy.

Oh, and what was up with Lacey's Wilma-Flintstone-as-a-Venetian-gondolier T-shirt under the beige and black lace cocktail dress? Seriously not working. Not even in the store window of Charlotte Russe.

I agreed totally with Simon that CASEY JAMES is a really good singer, but he needs to bring something MORE (I don’t know, just MORE) to his Idol performances. I’m not sure how long dude can coast on just standing there on the stage with a lazy grin, delivering more-than-competent-but-not-quite-outstanding performances, but I don’t think it’ll be until the end. That said, how can you not like a guy who rebuilt his own house and oozes genuineness when claiming he’s the least talented member of his family? (Sorry—the blonde hair, it dazzles.) Once he’s through with Idol, he needs to front a band, because he could do his stand-and-deliver thing as part of a group, no problem.

TROY:I can’t decide if Casey’s act is super dopey (“I’m Casey! I love to sing!”) or really cocky (“Kara wants to schtup me. Free pass to final 4!”). I do think it’s the former, but the boy really needs to step up his game. Big Mike is running across the stage like a madman and Casey can’t even shuffle his feet?

Love his voice, but still MEH on Casey overall.

TRACY:Perhaps part of the problem was that once again, I spent half the performance worrying that the Zombie Jamboree in the mosh pit was going to eat him once they were done spasmodically waving. CREEEEEpyyyyyyy.

TROY:Casey wasn’t very lively himself - think he would have survived (Shawn of the Dead style).

TRACY:Gotta give it to PAIGE MILES for busting out some power notes last night with laryngitis. Before I knew she was sick, I told my husband I thought “Honky Tonk Woman” was her best performance of the show so far. I totally think she needs to steal Haley’s schtick and go all “I’m African-American! And I’m country, y’all!” Number one, there’s just a bit of a void in country music when it comes to black women singers. Number two, it’d give this pretty but up-to-now rather generic performer a much-needed stamp of originality.

TROY:Paige Paige Paige. Sigh.

While I agree with you, I just can’t seem to care about this girl anymore. She has a good voice, but that’s where it ends as she has zero personality. This song was fine and props to her for singing with laryngitis, but just … whatever.

Also, do we need to revisit the “Smile” debacle from a few weeks ago? Girl couldn’t hit any of the notes and said she was so emotional because the song reminded her of Michael Jackson. REALLY?

TRACY::::We interrupt this AI recap to bring you an episode of Dear God, What Was She Wearing?::::

A denim onesie? Really? With weird tights? And horrible, mismatched boots? Did she raid the old One Day at a Time wardrobe trailer to come up with that outfit when the Idol stylist wasn’t looking? Dear God, WHAT was she wearing?!?!


Troy, I can’t believe I’m typing this. In fact, I’m not sure I CAN type this. Hurts. Too. Much.

TROY:Do you need to sit down? A fan? Vodka?

TRACY:(How about all of the above?) I actually agreed with Kara (OOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH, the paaaaaaiiiiinnnnnnn!!!!!!) when she said, with her usual freakish intensity, that ANDREW GARCIA should have added some more (not-so-freakish) intensity to his delivery of the Stones’ anti-war anthem “Gimme Shelter.”

Again, it’s an ANTI-WAR ANTHEM. That phrase alone should make a singer stand up and growl and belt and cry to the heavens when singing a song that fits that category.

Andrew made a very smart decision to drop the guitar and deliver something different, and his vocals were really quite pleasant. I would have actually like the song if it hadn’t been an ANTI-WAR ANTHEM.

When Mick Jagger delivers an ANTI-WAR ANTHEM (I can’t stop typing that in all caps), he struts, he pouts, he points and snarls. The underlying message is something along the lines of, “Yeah, this war? EFF this war! And eff all y’all until this war is OVER! End the war! END IT, you motherf----rs!!!!!”

When Andrew delivers an anti-war anthem (doesn’t deserve the all caps), it’s more like,

“Um, yeah, hi. So this war? Maybe it might be time to end it? No? Okay, then. That’s all right. I’ll just go now.”

TROY:Whoa. Did Kara just takeover my sister for a second? That critique was slightly freakishly intense. J

TRACY:Yeah, like you've never gone there, Tyra.

TROY:Also, you mentioned “ANTI-WAR ANTHEM” almost as much as the judges have mentioned Andrew’s “Straight Up” performance. Judges--we get it. Andrew peaked with “Straight Up” in Hollywood. He has no hope and is as sad as Meg Ryan’s career.

TRACY:So, singing was a’ight, but someone really needs to start feeling his songs. And while I’m at it….

Dear Andrew Garcia,

Please don’t ever sing about someone “rubbing you the right way” ever, ever again.


TRACY:It’s creepy. I’m not sure why it works when Christina Aguilera sings it, but you sounded like a child molester. Regardless of how tempting it may be, do not go there at any point in the future, lest I be tempted to gouge out my eardrums with a spoon.




TRACY:Oh, KATIE STEVENS. Such a sweet girl. So very, very dull on the stage. I think they should have encouraged her to try out in a couple of years instead of letting her into the top 24, because the girl just isn’t soup yet. Of COURSE she sang “Wild Horses,” (Susan Boyle did it!) because she probably hasn’t even heard of any other Rolling Stones song in the short course of her life.

“Wild Horses” is seriously one of my favorite songs ever in the history of ever. I love it when Mick sings it, and (sacrilege!) I love The Sundays’ eerie cover even more (Buffy + Angel = 4-EVA!). I don’t even mind Susan Boyle’s version, even though no one can improve on The Sundays. But Katie Stevens? She sang that ballad of intense romantic longing with all the intense romantic longing of Miss South Carolina delivering a treatise on why the people of Iran should have maps.

I cannot forgive, Troy. I want her expunged.

TROY:I totally agree. THIS was the song I was looking the most forward to and was praying that anyone BUT Katie would sing this. Sure enough, Katiebot 2000 takes the stage to perform Buffy and Angel’s prom song. Automatic hate.

This was bad, Tracy. Reaaallllly bad. Completely devoid of any passion or comprehension of what the song means, Katie got up there and tried to lull us into a deep sleep. She seems like a sweet girt, but I’m thinking her only potential for a singing career is for lead vocals on the next Kidz Bop album.

It has to be said: Lilly got booted for this?

TRACY:And Alex.

Dear God, TIM URBAN. Normally, I would just refuse to acknowledge Sir Helmet Hair out of respect for the fallen Alex Lambert (and in honor of Jesse Langseth and Tami Gosnell. Still bitter.). But what the crunk did he do to “Under My Thumb?!?!” I’m not even going to give him props … I’m not even going to give him a SINGLE prop, not one prop for trying to do something different. The SONG is called UNDER MY THUMB. There is a LYRIC in it that compares the girl who broke the singer’s heart to a SQUIRMING DOG.

Think maybe there’s something a little angry about this song maybe, hmmm, Tim?

TROY:This was a trainwreck. I wanted someone to go steal Tim’s lunch money, because what a NERDY performance. His vocals have gotten … less off-key, but that creepy, vacant stare into the camera seriously gives me nightmares.

TRACY:SERIOUSLY! FEEL YOUR SONG!!!! FEEL IT!!!!! FEEEEEEEEEEL IIIIIIIITTTTTTT!!!!!!!! Do not turn a dark song-spiral of torment, misogyny, and abuse into a lovely little poolside ditty, you silly, callow little man.

Obviously he is a nice guy from a nice family, but that is not enough to win a recording contract. (Please, Lord, let it not be enough.)

TROY:It unfortunately doesn’t matter what we think in this case. Urban’s here to stay for awhile thanks to the teen girl vote. He’s the male (and nicer) version of last season’s Bikini Girl.

TRACY:Oh, and what is up with the HELMET made of HAIR sitting on his skull? Is this trendy now? It makes me want to hunt down probable disturbing trendsetter Justin Bieber and sit on him until the guys from Jackass can come and shave his head. Or at least snap a barrette over his forehead.

On the polar opposite end of the scale, I love LEE DEWYZE every time, because he has that cool rasp to his voice and he totally feels his song. And even if said song is a powerfully original interpretation or a “safe” but heartfelt slow jam, I feel it, too. He’s likeable, he’s competent, he’s original, and doggoneit, I like him.

That said, I do agree with Simon again that he needs to step it up and have “a moment.” (Is there anything more paralyzing than someone getting all up in your face and demanding that you have “a moment.” I think not. So I don’t really hold it against Lee that he hasn’t had “a moment” yet, but I do hope he can pull one out soon.)

TROY:I think Lee is the Allison Iraheta/Elliot Yamin contestant this year. He’s so incredibly talented, but also flying under the radar with his proficient, but not notable performances.

Lee comes on stage, does his thing, but isn’t quite yet standing out to show what he’s made of. I think his moment will come once he gets a little more comfortable with himself.

Of course, now that I said that, he’ll surely be voted out next week. Eff.

TRACY:I hope not--that would be a tragedy of Katherine-MacPhee-in-second- place-over-Daughtry-and-Yamin proportions.

AARON KELLY sang “Angie.” It was all right. (Yawn.)

At least he did something different with his hair, instead of having the Army of Perfectly Matched Stepford Spikes sitting atop his head.

TROY:Oh Aaron. He’s like a less charismatic, less talented version of David Archuleta. I’m bored just talking about him.

TRACY:I’ve thought all along that the judges have been unjustly awful to DIDI BENAMI. I even didn’t mind “Lean on Me….”


TRACY:Though that’s a really hard song to mess with since it’s so well known. I love her hippy-chick vibe, I love her wacky vibrato, and I love that she calls her mom “Mommy Benami.”

I also loved “Playing with Fire.” Didi always does something wholly original with the melody, but it sounds so effortless, you barely notice how accomplished of a song arranger she is. The fact that she’s lasted this long while serving as the judges’ cannon fodder for FAR too long could make her the dark horse of this competition. If there is any justice in this world, look for her to crack at least the top four, at worst.

TROY:You know, I’ve been hard on Didi since the competition started. Loved her Kara song, but have just been constantly disappointed since (Pitchiest “Rhiannon” ever!). However, “Playing with Fire” has been one of the only performances that’s been stuck in my head since Tuesday night. Loved Didi’s almost perfect vocals on a slightly haunting take of the song. I may even have to take back my earlier statement declaring her Brooke White 2.0.

(The title will be reinstated if she decides to stop and start one of her upcoming performances…or spastically interrupt the judges like she’s Rain Man while they critique).

TRACY:Agreed, although calling anyone that sweet and talented Brooke White is slightly horrifying.

Preventing a Didi Benami win at this time would be one SIOBHAN MAGNUS and one CRYSTAL BOWERSOX.

Crystal delivered yet another Joplinesque powerhouse with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” She’s flawless, and the only thing standing between her and the Idol crown is the fact that she doesn’t have too far to grow, so some voters may get complacent or even tired of said flawlessness. (Oh, and Siobhan, of course.)

TROY:Joplinesque? I can’t go that far (see Allison Iraheta’s amazing exit performance last season for that distinction), but I do like the Bowersox. I do feel like she’s missing a little bit of energy on stage, but I get that that’s her thing. She still rocked it and I loved her for it.

TRACY:But didn’t you just want to punch Kara right between her crazy Runaway Bride Eyes when she started talking about how Mama Sox was getting “cocky” and seemed to think she had the competition won? Thanks, Kara. Let’s just go plant the seeds of sabotage into the viewers’ minds, because it’ll be so fun to watch one of the most deserving contestants get axed prematurely so we can be treated to Katie “the female Barry Manilow” Stevens albums instead.


Had to love how Crystal put the kibosh on that by 1) managing to defend herself without having a Guarini “what did you all think?” moment; 2) genuinely admitting that Siobhan was “awesome”; and 3) wearing a peacock feather to protest Lilly Scott’s premature ouster.

If a MAN were to be all stoic and confident on the stage (um, hello, Casey), I’d bet my last copy of The Feminist Mystique that Kara wouldn’t bat an eyelash. But when a woman does the same thing, she calls her out as cocky. My inner feminist is SCREAMING at the self-described (ugh) “cougar” right now, and once she is done, she is going to have a good cry at the state of this alleged “post-feminist” era.

TROY:Excuse you. Kara embodies the word” feminist.” What, with her bikini spreads in Maxim, Women’s Health, etc….

TRACY:Somebody give Gloria Steinem a cattle prod and have her stand behind Kara for the duration of the show, please.

“I’m a cougar!”


“Simon, you’re so smart. Do you agree with me? Do you? Huh?”


“But I’m a cougar!”


TROY:You good?

TRACY:It's a lovely visual. You should try it sometime.

TROY:(Team Kara!!)


TRACY:And that brings me to SIOBHAN MAGNUS. I understand that the quirky little glassblower might be a little polarizing, not in small part because of that slightly not-all-there smile she sometimes gives the camera. But between the badly drawn Mary Poppins tattoo and her sweet 60s-throwback parents, there’s more to Siobhan than first meets the eye.

She definitely showed it with her dark, dramatic, and powerfully original take on “Paint It Black” (thankfully erasing Gina Glocksen’s “version” from a few seasons ago from my brain). Love the drama, loved the way she reworked the melody, loved the gorgeous, lilting ending.

And I massively, massively adored the Valkyrie Shriek at the end. Every time she does that, my husband Jose and I usually end up breaking out into applause and yelling, “That was AWESOME!” at our TV like a Latino Chris Farley and David Spade.

And then, inevitably, one of us stops, folds our hands under our arms, and mumbles, “You know, she can’t hear us” at the other.

TROY:I normally think Siobhan sounds a bit monotonous in her performances (save the token, glory note), but I downloaded the mp3 of “Paint it Black” and have been listening to it on repeat. The girl sounds amazing when she records and she certainly bring something interesting and intense to each of her performances. She’s just so INTERESTING--I’m always curious to hear what she’s going to say and what song she’s going to choose. Siobhan makes me care, and let’s be honest, that’s rare in season 9.

Who knew she’d clean up so well too?

TRACY:She reminds me of a more rocking Heather Nova (alternative 90s singer-songwriter. “London Rain?”)

TROY:(Say What?)

TRACY:(“Walk This World?”) … No?). Love “Paint It Black,” love her, love the surprise she brings to every performance.

Because if I can’t have Adam Lambert back for every season of American Idol, then just bring on someone like Siobhan.

TROY:Preach (although I do sorta wish the Glambert were back this year to show these contestants a thing or two about owning a song).

TRACY:Last week, I predicted (hoped, prayed) that Katie Stevens would be butchering her swan song on Thursday, or Tim Urban. Sadly, it was not to be.

TROY:Unfortunately, we did not get the outster of Katiebot 2000. Still, I can’t say I was wicked devastated to see bad bad Lacey Brown go.

Can this week be a triple elimination of Tim, Paige and Katie (I’m fine substituting in Aaron as well).


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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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