Hey folks - thanks for all the positive feedback on my first Idol recap. Here we go again!
It’s guys night on Idol and it’s time to see what they have. The girls were so-so last night except for some outstanding performances from Katharine, Paris and Mandisa. Maybe the guys will have a better competition than the girls.
Simon says the key to winning will be to “be original.” I agree: there are far too many clones in this year’s competition. We’ll see some standouts tonight, no doubt. I checked the Google search stats earlier today and the most searched-for contestant among the men is, by far, Ace Young (no surprise there). Right behind him is Taylor Hicks.
Let’s get started:
Patrick looks like Bill the Cat (ACK!) but is BY NO MEANS as good as Billy and the Boingers were in their heyday. Hey, that’s a cool song: Melissa Etheridge’s “Come to My Window.” Oddly enough, Patrick takes kind of a crooning approach to the song instead of the growling vocals I expected. It doesn’t really work. He sings like a very cheesy contemporary Christian artist. Very vanilla. Randy and Paula tell Patrick to stick to his “niche.” I guess that means “don’t sing rock.” Simon comes right out and tells Patrick he picked the wrong song and ended up with a “very average performance.” He’s right.
David “Soundtrack to Olive Garden” Radford’s gimmick is annoying. He brings out “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” What the heck is he doing up there? He’s doing the Elvis foot turns and it isn’t working. Here’s the deal: the singing is okay, I guess, but it just doesn’t fit David’s look. He has no edge to him and is going to draw infinite Michael Buble comparisons. He is far below Buble. Ooh! Jazz hands! Jazz hands! Randy compares it to a high school play, so I guess he noticed the jazz hands, too. Paula is supportive, of course. Simon says it “came over as a bit of a joke” and urges David to go for Harry Connick style and stop being so cute.
Mrs. Parts says she wants to shave Bucky’s head and put braces on his teeth. Harsh! I’ve been looking forward to seeing this dude sing because he looked interesting, but alas, my hopes are dashed. I remember during his performance that on his official bio, he claims Kid Rock as his idol. Oh boy. There he is, doing “Simple Man” by Skynyrd in much the same way Bo wouldn’t. Shots of the crowd reveal they are utterly freaked out by this performance. Holy cow, that was bad. He’s totally off-key, but not in a “raw but cool” kind of way. The judges kinda liked it, it seems, but Simon likens it to a sleazy barroom performance.
Will looks almost exactly like David. That’s going to work against him, because he doesn’t have the “crooner” gimmick to make him memorable. He’s going to do “I Want You Back” by The Jackson Five in the vein of suburbia trying to be funky. Tonight has been one disappointing performance after another. This is like a junior high talent show starring Bobby Brady. Not five seconds after I type it, Paula makes the same comparison. I’m on fire. Of course, Paula is in full-on fellatio mode tonight and seems hell bent on making googly eyes at every piece of man-flesh to hit the stage. Simon finds it average and says no one will remember it.
Jose “Sway” Penala is supposed to be a contender, according to what I’ve been reading. I guess he’ll be drawing the inevitable Aaron Neville comparisons with his falsetto. “Reasons” by Earth, Wind and Fire is imminent. Sway is really off-key and sings so high, it borders on ridiculous. The women in the crowd seem to like it, but I think it’s just awful. Randy delivers the “we got a hot one tonight!” line. Paula calls it amazing. I am appalled. Am I just in a bad mood tonight? Simon calls it a “really pimpy, fur-draped copy” of the original and notes he is on a different critical page than the other judges. So far, I’m agreeing totally with Simon. So far, the guys are stinking up the joint.
Chris, this season’s rocker, is going to do “Wanted: Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi, a song he’s been doing for a long time on the local bar scene. This could be risky. Chris has a cool look, that’s for sure, and seems to be a very genuine guy without the small town rock star persona. He gets the MANDISA FLAME BACKGROUND~! He sings well enough, but his stage presence is a little wooden. I mean, this is one of the most grinding, passionate rock songs ever and he just stands there with the mic stand in his hand. Is he being vocally backed by Jesse Jackson? Best performance of the night so far, but that’s not saying much. Paula says Chris has a good stance (?). Simon likes the song choice and declares it the first time tonight we’ve heard someone with potential.
Kevin is a wildcard. He’s likable, but really, really nerdy. He busts out a Brian McKnight song and notes that he’s not “powerful-looking” but can tackle the powerful ballad “One Last Cry.” This is pretty bad. He has a weak voice and reminds me of a fifth-grade version of the weed-scoring guy from “Club Paradise.” A shot of Katharine in the crowd reveals her openly poking fun at this performance. Who could blame her? Randy inexplicably calls the performance “the bomb.” Paula is all encouragement and BLAH BLAH BLAH. She’s really getting on my nerves. She’s proud of Kevin. Awwww! Simon apologizes to America and lashes into Kevin, telling him only someone who is over 90 and hard of hearing could put up with such an excruciating vocal. Yep. And then – I can’t believe this crap – Kevin goes over to the girls section and they all PINCH HIS CHEEKS. This kid must die.
Gedeon (who looks way older than 17) sings “You Make Me Wanna Shout.” I can’t take much more of this. How embarrassing. He looks like Dave Chapelle making fun of an Idol contestant: a caricature of a third-rate soul singer. Interminable. I’ll skip the Randy and Paula comments because you can guess what they said (the same crap they’ve said all night). Simon says it’s like watching a “warm-up for the Chippendales.” SERVED. I guess you could’ve guessed that, too. Then Simon makes me laugh out loud by saying “your smile bothers me,” in the tone of “what the hell is going on here?” Paula counters by calling it “awesome.” This is surreal.
Elliot is laid back and seems like an average Joe. I remember him from his group performance with one of the “my SPEER-it…has been BRO-ken” Brittenum twins. He was a standout. Hopefully he can redeem the show tonight. He does “If You Really Love Me” by Stevie Wonder and it goes surprisingly well. He has nice, smooth vocals. Finally, some real talent! He easily outdoes Chris and becomes the standout of the night (so far). This sends the already euphoric Randy and Paula through the ceiling. Simon thinks Elliot has the potential to be the best male vocalist ever on American Idol. I don’t know about that, but he’s pretty darn good.
Bobby comes out with “Copacabana.” Barry f’in Manilow?! Whose idea was this? The song is just too much for Bobby and he’s really straining. He tries some drunken-looking dance moves and goes totally Raul Julia on the camera. The last note is SOUR. He’s huffing, puffing and sweating and notes “this isn’t for big people.” Always a good idea to self-deprecate. Then he plugs Manilow’s new album. Thanks for the recommendation, Bobby. You’ve made me want – no, NEED – a Barry Manilow record. Randy doesn’t like it. Simon: “If you hear a scream from a hotel room in Las Vegas, you’ll know Barry Manilow is watching the show.” HA! “People watching at home must think we’re insane,” Simon notes. Yes, we do. This is the worst slate of men Idol has ever had, without question.
Ace Young. He has name advantage going into this competion. I’ve been against this guy since the beginning for two reasons: 1. He looks like a cleaner version of Constantine Maroulis. 2. He’s a sizzlechest. I’m always loathe to root for the pretty boy. He chooses “Father Figure” by George Michael and Mrs. Parts notes, “That’s it, he’s gay. He’s gay! He just won’t admit it because he’ll lose all the female votes!” I’m skeptical but lo and behold, he BLOWS THE SONG AWAY and makes me remember how cool it was to enjoy George Michael music before The Bathroom Incident. Ace makes the other competitors look like absolute trash. His performance is flawless and I am officially won over. Good idea to sing “I will be your DADDY,” Ace. The women in the audience positively swoon. This guy’s going to be really hard to beat. The judges are astonished. Any guy who can make you have new appreciation for a somewhat tainted song like “Father Figure” indeed has the X-Factor. Great stuff.
BUT WAIT! We’re not done – it’s fun-lovin’ Taylor Hicks with a super-soulful rendition of Elton John’s “Leave On.” The best has truly been saved for last, just like with Katharine last night. HOLY COW! Taylor looks like he doesn’t have a care in the world and is just ALONE with his love for music, swaying and smiling and putting his heart into it. His voice absolutely could melt butter. I love his “HEY!!! ALRIGHT!!!” thing before the chorus. Powerful. Everyone is one their feet and dancing in the audience. A moment ago, I doubted anyone could beat Ace but now I’m a believer in Taylor. This is an electric performance. This ranks right up there with Carrie’s performance of “Alone” last season – astonishing. He fits Simon’s calls for uniqueness. Simon takes back his prediction that Taylor can’t make it. “I was wrong,” Simon says. Wow. Did you catch that? Wow. “It’s music, man!” Taylor proclaims and I feel it.
My overall assessment is we can just go ahead and cut all the dead weight and keep only Ace and Taylor. It’s going to come down to them anyway. Both are ready for recording contracts RIGHT NOW. I can’t wait to see these two battle it out. The last two performances completely redeemed a bad night of average singers.
Top three: Taylor, Ace and Elliot. Bottom three: Bucky, Gedeon and Bobby.
Parts Unknown, thanks for the recaps (forgot to mention in last post). It's got just about everything...song titles, opinions, opinions from the significant other. Usually, we watch the entire week in one day. However, because we don't have the time to watch five hours in one day, we are watching AI day by day for the first week. We'll see what happens the next week as it gets cut down to four a week. Once we get to the final 12, it's one day, two hours of the time.
I thought about this between season four and season five. I decided to make the final 24 like the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. I broke the 24 down to 8 groups of 3, broken down by each site that the games are going to be played next month. I broke it down by the closeness to the site. Then, for the final 12, I reseed the final 12, also by the closeness to the site. Here's how it ended up (* meaning that I had to move them away from the closest site).
Sorry, got too much time on my hands, but a couple of sections are packed.
Here's for day 2, from best to worst.
12. Ace -> A clean performance.
10. Elliott -> Really surprised me.
9. Chris -> I had a feeling he would be the one doing "The Bo" (Picking up and walking with the mic stand)
8. David -> Home stater, if he makes the final 12, FOX 32 will be all over the place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I know, we went through Jennifer in season 3. Nice job singing a pop song in his own style. At least it wasn't like Fantasia singing it...in BIG BAND WEEK!!!
7. Taylor -> We got a feeling about him. He's going to end up being the new Scott Savol. You want him out, but he keeps on going. Also, stop with the neck moves. You may end up looking sideways for the rest of your life if you pull something in there.
5. Will -> Even before Paula said it, I was thinking "Brady Bunch."
4. Gedeon -> If I close my eyes, it would sound the same as 1 million other people trying to sing it. It was, "Blah."
3. Sway -> I had him on the outs until <>. Going mostly falsetto was irritating. I could not find the natural voice.
2. Bucky -> Uh...I could not understand him too well. When he talks, he talks like Boomhauer from "King of the Hill." Gotta go, Bucky-boy.
1. Bobby -> He saved Sway in my book. Just plain brutal. Must go home tomorrow.
To recap...Becky, Stevie, Bucky, and Bobby are my predictions for the exit tomorrow night.
Gedeon is good, but the dude has a comedic face. I told this to my GF, and then it hit me, the dude looks like David Alan Grier with a massive piehole & afro. No way I can take him seriously.
Chris was one of the guys I had picked before, and then he busts out my favorite Bon Jovi song ever...I think he's got a final 6 spot stamped, so he can use these next weeks to work on his performance abilities.
Elliott (another of the guys I'm pulling for) also rocked the house. Pleasantly surprised by the choice of song and what he did with it.
I like Parts usually "always loathe to root for the pretty boy". So I cannot like Ace just on principal. But I also can't help but look at Paula, and wonder if she's thinking that if she hadn't messed around with Corey Clark, she could be taking Ace to Fred Segal and calling him over and over on his cellphone. Allegedley of course. She's not only going to be as annoying and biased as she was with Constantine, but easily 100 times worse. Ugh.
Taylor did a bang-up job, and just the fact he won Simon over has got to help him in the voting.
Radford was garbage, along with Hall, Bucky, and Bobby Bennett.
The Brady Bunch knock on Will was uncalled for, since he easily looks like Fred Savage of "Wonder Years" fame. Not one of the ones I have picked, but I do hope me makes the final 6.
Ace, Chris, Elliott, Will, Taylor, Sway, Gedeon, and Kevin are the contenders for the final 6, with everyone else not worthy.
I'm all for the Rat Pack, hereafter referred to as the Super Dorks: David, Will, and Kevin if only because Beauty and the Geek is almost over and we need nerds on TV.
I feel BAD for Dave Wittenburg because not only did he have to be paired with Brenna, but he had a better voice than half the guys tonight and he got cut without anyone having the chance to vote on him.
Truth be told, it's Elliot VS Ace VS Taylor and everyone else is just filling time.
Good GOD does Randy have to say "it was a little sharp in places" every time something sucks?