Archive for American Idol

Goodbye To Simon’s Pants On The Ground

And congratulations to Lee DeWyze from Mt. Prospect, Illinois.  Even if Crystal had not been from our neck of the woods, being talked about continuously on the 4 local stations, I would definitely think that she was the clear front-runner.  From what I have seen of American Idol this year, the paint salesman has grown by leaps and bounds and deserves to be crowned.  But why, oh why do we need two hours of it.  We had the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Some of the performances by the top 12 were good… others not so good (Siobhan), and others were downright UUUUUGLY!  (I was almost afraid that one of the myriad of guest performers was going to have another wardrobe malfunction).

Taking second place to the anticipation of the announcement was the farewell to Simon Cowell.  I’m not totally convinced that the show will be the juggernaut it is without him.  I don’t think it is now after nine years.  Video tributes, a hilarious segment by Ricky Gervais, and the inevitable return of Paula Abdul all ate time up.  I think it will all come down to who the new person at the table will be as to how it will fare.

My favorite part of the evening:  THE YANKEES WIN!  About time.  The win TWICE.  The suspended game from yesterday and today’s scheduled game at Target Field against the Twins.  Plus (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) but kudos to the Red Sox for sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays which inches the Bombers closer to that first place AL East lead.

Plus, the Pants on the Ground rendition featuring Season 3 standout William Hung was priceless.  Congrats, Lee!  And THAHHHHHHH YANKEES WIN!

Elvis, Elvis Let Me Be

Tonight was another rare American Idol viewing. We are to start Tuesday night rehearsals soon but nit was ice to be off early on a Tuesday night.  This week the top nine took on the task of attempting to channel their inner King of Rock & Roll.  For the most part, they all did a great job with two very notable exceptions.  I have to say how much I idolize the performer who came from nothing and achieved such a memorable place in entertainment history.  Not only was he instrumental in the evolution of pop rock music but he also crossed over to country and sang gospel/spiritual music like no one else.  I have always appreciated the religious side of Elvis more than any of the other genres.  I think these songs showed a personal, vulnerable side that few of his “hits” conveyed (with the possible exception of “In the Ghetto”).

In what has been called the “’68 Comeback Special” after the Hollywood era of a long list of movie attempts, the King set out to do what he had done best… perform in front of a live audience.  Not only did he perform many of the crowd pleasing songs, but also included a montage of gospel songs.  I’m not going to post the nine minute section of the special but here is an equally moving piece that closed the concert:

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Remember, it WAS the late 60s.  If you put the song into the context of the turbulent times, the song speaks for itself.  I don’t think he was exceptionally vocal about his world view but his music spoke volumes.  He may not have written a large number of songs but the songs he chose to perform was his genius.

Tick-Tock/Blah Blah Blah

I have been watching American Idol less and less.  Somehow, it has lost a lot of the appeal that it once held.  I have watched enough to learn that Northwest Ohio native, Crystal Bowersox, is one of the early favorites.  Good for her!  I have also watched enough to know that Ellen Degeneres has yet to become comfortable in her judging capacity.  She definitely has taken over the void as supreme cheerleader vacated by Paula Abdul… maybe a bit too much.  Enough about that because I really can’t say too much with the amount I have seen.

I will comment on the act that was part of the results show tonight.  A “Breakout” artist of the new year, Ke$hia (that’s how it is spelled) performed something.  Hot off the heels of her 6 million seller, “Tick Tock,” she came on stage and performed “Blah Blah Blah” and that is what it looked and sounded like.  Or maybe I could not hear the lyrics because I was too busy laughing at the audacity of the spectacle. It really made me wonder where she broke out from! I think I’d rather hear “Pants on the Ground” but I think that has had its 5 minutes of fame.  The video on youtube just did not do the hilarious performance tonight justice.  I’ll look back and update the post.  It is definitely one that needs to be seen to be believed.  Honestly, I never understood the need to fill an hour with something that can be done in less than a half hour.

Here is Crystal taking on the Creedence Clearwater Revival song “As Long As I Can See The Light.”

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And now for the moment tangenteers have been waiting a good 15 hours for…

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Pants On The Ground

Just in case you haven’t heard the new singing(?) sensation that is 63 year old Larry Platt and his soon to hit the late night talk show circuit hit, you are in for a rollicking treat.  I know that the age limit for American Idol is 28, but somehow sometimes the producers allow gimmicks such as Mr. Platt to slip through to perform for the judges.  This season’s big news is the departure of Paula Abdul and the coming of Ellen DeGeneres after the completion of the audition process and the arrival to Hollywood. Once again, it sounds like the acid wit of Simon Cowell might be exiting after this, the 9th season, of the show. Personally, I don’t think it will be as much of a ratings juggernaut without him.

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That Time Of The Year… AGAIN

Yes, tomorrow night begins the drama that has become known as American Idol.  This season promises to be as memorable as the past how many ever it has been (I’ve lost count).  There is going to be an added female judge joining Simon, Randy, and Paula.  Maybe she will inject added controversy with the often addled-appearing Paula Abdul.  I enjoy watching the first few weeks of the audition process when the producers put the worst of the worst before millions of television audiences.  Honestly, who can imagine this unfortunate soul singing(?) Like a Virgin being taken seriously?  I guess one should not scoff at someone attempting to fulfill a dream, but… Somehow future seasons saw contestants like William Hung and Sanjaya Malakar advance a few stages.  Curiosity will lead me to watch some this season, but it definitely does not have the appeal it once did.

Will You Be Watching American Idol this Season?

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Morat Strikes Back

HELLO EVERY PEOPLE!!!!! I a return to this town in OHHO country to a see this strange person at the food shop. I a see this woman who a tell me she a like Morat when he was at the school in Edgertown, OHHO when he read a the Liswathistani stories of The Three Wooly Sheep and Morat and the Three Bears to the little people for the “PTO Family Night.” The woman say she enjoy very much the accent of Morat and say he a very funny person. Strange man person he just stood ans hook his head. Why he do that I not know.

As I a cover for news next owner America country, I a still not get to speak to the woman who I do not think will be new owner. I try and try but every time Morat get close to her, these funny looking man persons with things sticking out of there ears come and chase Morat away. I a not understand this at all. I a just humble person who come to find America country. I a come close to speaking to Medulla Oblongata, but he no speak to Morat, too. So I say, VOtE For MORAT. What was a that crazy movie I saw Vote For Pedro… Bonaparte TNT? AH…. Napoleon Dynamite. OK… I like Liswathistan name better. Very big in Liswathistan right now… number one movie for 2 days.

I also watch final of America Idol show. Two Davids? Only one Morat. Little David lose to old David. I think Simon helped vote for old David when he said young David won before vote. Morat sill say he should be America Idol. I sing the Livin’ Viva Loca better than anyone. EVERYONE WINS!!!

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Six Little Engines That Tried

Tonight was the episode of “American Idol” that I have been waiting to see since season two. Not because it featured music from the Andrew Lloyd Webber songbook but that a good question was posed to a certain British judge whom everyone admires greatly: “Given the rather negative comments you pose to performers who would be better suited for the Broadway stage how does one approach these songs?” Mr Cowell responded: “Make them memorable yet contemporary.” A rather cryptic response if ever there was one.

Six contestants remain. Those who were familiar with the songs showed it and those who were less familiar showed it (perhaps even more so).

Syesha Mercado started the evening with “One Rock & Roll Too Many” from Starlight Express. Not being extremely familiar with the show, I cannot say too much about it. However, the bluesy rendition was quite nice.

The next contestant, Jason Castro, did not fare as well. Even Lord Andrew commented that he never thought he would see the day when “Memory” would be sung by a young man in dreadlocks. The composer even provided a bit of background into the character from Cats who performs the song (“a rather old glamour puss”). Jason looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights on stage.

The halftime performer, Brooke White, also had difficulty. The song “You Must Love Me” was composed by Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice for the movie version of Evita. It is sung by Eva Peron (played by Madonna) on her deathbed. Unfortunately, Brooke lost her lyric in the first line, stopped, apologized, and started over. I’m not sure if this would be allowed in an actual audition but to do so on a television show which is seen by (reportedly) millions of people each week takes some degree of chutzpah.

The “contestant to beat” this year, 17-year-old David Archuletta, chose to take a diva song of nearly operatic proportions and turn it into a boy band pop ballad. Lloyd Webber wrote the role of Christine in Phantom of the Opera specifically for his wife at the time, Sarah Brightman. For a young man to change such a song with the composer sitting in the audience watching and listening takes a great deal of courage. However, good ol’ Simon did not find the performance especially memorable.

The Irish female rocker, Carly Smithson, decided to change her song from “All I Ask of You” to the title track of Jesus Christ Superstar. A wise choice on her part.

However, the final performer did not choose wisely. Male rocker David Cook attempted to sing “Music of the Night.” The rendition was as unimpressive as the movie version of Phantom of the Opera. I was hoping he would chose a song better suited to his rock sensibilities, but he decided to go a different route and it just did not work.

I guess I found half of the performances enjoyable. But as Lord Andrew told most of the contestants: you must know not only what you are singing but also what you are singing about. Find the meaning behind the words.

It’s Just A Flesh Wound, Honestly

Tuesday night’s American Idol will feature the finalists performing the music of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. I really do not have a problem with this per se. However, I do recall on several occassions when the judges have commented that a contestants performance is better suited for the Broadway stage and not what would make a good money-making pop star. To me, the finalists should be well versed in multiple genres of music. Why should they appeal to only screaming, teenage fans? There are other outlets for people with some degree of musical talent.

There have actually been attempts to integrate musical theatre songs into the realm of “popular” culture. In the late 70s, the soundtrack from the movie Grease generated several songs which were popular hits. In the late 90s, the British boy band Boyzone had a modest US hit with the song “No Matter What” from Webber’s Whistle Down the Wind.

Recently, former American Idol contestants have also gone on to appear on the musical stage. Third season champion Fantasia Barrino was cast as Celie in The Color Purple. In January 2008, second season runner-up Clay Aiken joined the cast of Spamalot as Sir Robin.

While the music of the theatrical stage may not appeal to everyone, it will be very interesting to see the American Idol contestants takes on the songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber. They may introduce audiences who would otherwise steer clear from the genre or one of them may become tomorrow’s Broadway star.