Thursday, February 21, 2008

American Idol, 02/21/2008, Top 24 (Women)

I came home so wiped out tonight, I decided that I just wasn't going to write tonight. When Richie caught wind of this, he took the bull by the horns and put Cathryn to bed for me. He put to bed--just so I can sit here and watch the cheesiest show on Earth and write about it for y'all. Some women say that jewelry and flowers should be the way their husbands should show them that they love them. But I'm a horse of a different color--Richie proves it everyday by letting me obsess over my favorite things. Every time I get on one of my Buffy speeches, he just smiles and pretends to listen, and I think that's sweet. And the little act of showing up in Cathryn's room at 8 o'clock tonight? Well, he may as well have given me a 5 carat diamond ring and two dozen roses.

THIS is American Idol.

On with the show! Ryan informs us that they're continuing the 60's theme from last night. Still an excellent idea, by the way. When the contestants are introduced (with Ryan telling us that the girls are "in it to win it" and becomes the whitest man in America), I see that Carly Smithson is performing last tonight. So Michael Johns closed the show last night, and tonight's closer is Carly. Hmm. Two pimpees getting the pimpiest pimp spot of the night? Wow, I wonder who the producers are telling us to vote for? The mind boggles.

First up is Kristy Lee Cook. Yay. Can't you just feel my excitement? I guess with the theme being Songs from the 60's, she can't very well sing "Amazing Grace", can she? Because the theme means the 1960s, not the 1760s. Ha, ha. I kill me. Instead, she chose to sing "Rescue Me", and while I'm glad she chose an uptempo song, the first thing that strikes me is that her voice is just way too thin for this song. That's really strange, isn't? Given from what we've heard from her, isn't she supposed to have this rich, deep voice? I'm not coming down on her, I'm just curious. It's not horrible, but I think she can do better. Maybe it's the nerves.

Joanne Borgella safely chooses "Say A Little Prayer". My problem mainly is with this song. It's a pretty song, but too often, the singer let the background vocalists do all the work for them, and none of the singer's voice really gets showcased. It's one thing if we've heard you over and over again, like the Reanimated Corpse of Dionne Warwick, but when you're singing for the first time in the Top 24? Not a wise song choice. Also, I can see that Joanne and I share a similar performance problem--we close our eyes too much during a song. Every year in Teen Talent, the judges would come down so hard on me for that. It's OK to do it maybe once during a song, but closing your eyes doesn't let you connect with the audience.

You know, the 1960's was like, a whole decade. So you'd think that out of 24 contestants, there wouldn't be any song repeats. Can you please tell me why Alaina Whitaker singing "I Love You More Today Than Yesterday", the same song Chikezie Eze sang last night? I mean, why didn't anyone sing The Beatles? Or the Rolling Stones? Or Aretha Franklin? Or Marvin Gaye? Or The Supremes? Or The Beach Boys? Or anyone else who sang in the 1960s besides this same tired song? I'm getting off track here. When she and Ryan were talking up in the Red Booth, she told us that she was going to come out with energy and really have fun with the song. So...she decides to stand in the middle of the stage and sing slowly? As Richie so blithely put it, "What happened to energy?" But then, the music kicked up and she comes somewhat alive. Despite myself, I liked the performance, especially compared with Chikezie last night. Plus, I get the felling that she's kind of goofy underneath all that blonde hair, which earns her points in my book. Of course, I have to retain the privilege to withdraw these points at any given time when I become tired of the goofiness.

When we first catch a glimpse of Amanda Overmyer, Richie and I have this little bet that she's going to sing Janis Joplin. Of course, we both think she's going to sing Joplin, so we're not really clear on who we're betting against. Maybe Amanda herself, since she tells America that she's never going to sing Janis Joplin on the show again, and Richie and I lose our bet. Never say never, Amanda. When she begins to sing "Baby, Please Don't Go", I realize how much older she sounds when she sings. It's difficult to believe that she's only 23 when she's performing. I've never heard this song, but wow. I She is fully commanding the song, the stage, the audience. I wonder if Amanda lost a bet, because she seems to have lost her shirt and had to come out on stage in her camisole and bra. And some pants that were sewn together from scraps of the other contestant's clothes. I mean, she wouldn't wear any of that on purpose, would she? Yikes.

Amy Davis has very striking features, but her version of Patsy Cline's (and Connie Francis') "Where The Boys Are" is very, very off key, and her voice keeps doing this strange modulating thing. It's painfully bad. I don't know what else to say about her, or this performance. I definitely think that she's going home. If not, I will be very, very surprised.

I like Brooke White. I cannot explain why, other than her pretty smile and her ethereal presence. So how appropriate that she should choose to sing "Happy Together". WHICH IS EXACTLY THE SAME SONG THAT DAVID COOK CHOSE TO SING LAST NIGHT. The only difference is that Cook tried to sing it like he was in a neo-punk band, and Brooke chose to channel Jewel. I'm not sure either worked, although I really enjoy hearing Brooke's voice, and look forward to hearing more from her. What confused me was one thing--did she forget the words at the end, and just decided to sing "Ba, ba, ba, ba, ba ba ba ba ba..."? I know that The Turtles sing that at the end of their rendition, but I really don't think it fits in on the Idol stage for the very reason that it makes you look like you've forgotten the words.

Alexandrea Lushington's name is very long, and it makes me quite weary to type it out. I hope that she acquires a nickname very soon, so that I can simply type "Drea" or "The Lush" and save my fingers. She comes down the steps singing "Spinning Wheel", and I am pleasantly surprised by this choice. She sounds really modern, and her voice is very smooth, with the exception of her upper register. As an alto, that's probably something she's going to need to work on. But overall, an excellent performance.

I have the sneaking suspicion that Kady Malloy and Alaina Whitaker are actually clones. They look alike, they talk alike, but at least they were dressed differently. I really, really am in love with Kady's dress and her shoes. Maybe a little formal for the occasion, but still supercute nonetheless. I would like one, please. Choosing to sing "Groovy Kind of Love" was a wrong choice--it's just way too safe and sedate a song for the first night, especially when you really haven't had any exposure. Also, there was no joy in the performance, even though it's a happy love song. I'd like more joy, please.

Speaking of joy, I loved, loved Asia'h Epperson's performance of "Piece of My Heart". She has this beautiful smoky voice and I think her choosing to sing it is just about as close to awesome as one can get this early in the competition. However, I think this should be the last week (unless she makes it to the Top Three) that the producers should use the story about her losing her dad. Now, before y'all go thinking I'm completely heartless, hear me out. Asia'h Epperson is a great singer. She's cute, and she's energetic and fun. There is more to her, and more to her story than the fact that she lost her dad a couple of months ago. Because I like her, I want to know more about her, and if I were in her position, I wouldn't want the producers trying to get me sympathy votes. I'd want votes based on my own merits, not an event that I had absolutely no control over. That being said, it was my favorite performance of the night.

Ramiele Malubay is so unbelievably precious, and I am not the least bit ashamed to admit it. She is so wee and tiny that I could fit both she and Christian from Project Runway into the same pocket, leaving plenty of room for Tim Gunn in the other. (By the way, did y'all see the Project Runway reunion show last night? Way too delicious!) They even have similar haircuts, so they could share styling tips. I feel like too many singers tonight have chosen ballads, and I wish she would have shown some fire, some passion tonight. I would love to hear her sing a full rendition of "That's What I'm Gonna Do" by Aretha Franklin. Overall, though, a good solid performance. Hopefully, we'll see some spunk soon.

This show has made it perfectly clear that Ryan Seacrest is not a tall man, so why is Syesha Mercado sitting on her knees and towering above him? He's literally having to look up to her to talk, and it looks really...condescending on her part. The first thing I thought of when Syesha begins to speak is that she is quite impressed with herself, and expects everyone else to be equally impressed. I guess I'll have to play the rebel and not be impressed. Smugness gets you nowhere with me. I'm terribly conflicted about the performance of "Tobacco Road". The vocal is very strong, but she's really just standing there on the stage, not working the song at all. Lady, that is one angry song you're singing. I'd like it if you'd actually show that when you're singing it.

I am beyond happy that Carly Smithson has chosen to wear an actual color tonight, instead of her usual goth-princess uniform of black everything. Really, that wardrobe was making me very depressed. However, though her top is cute, she has mistaken chosen to wear leggings instead of actual pants. LEGGINGS DO NOT COUNT AS PANTS, CARLY. I hope she learns this lesson quickly, because I'd hate to have to chastise her weekly for the same infractions. What is this song she's singing? Does it have a title? I've never heard this before, so I'm going to assume that since she's sang "Shadow of Your Smile" twice, that's got to be the title of the song. As she's singing, I keep waiting for the song to actually begin. Is there a hook, a chorus, something that makes this an actual song and not just rambling set to music? Yes, Carly, you can sing. But that was nowhere near the best performance of the night, and I am greatly disappointed.

Going home: Amy Davis and either Alaina or Kady, because they're so interchangeable.


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