Your Lying Eyes

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18 March 2008

Live Blogging Idol

After yesterday's depressing post on our imploding economy, I need some real fluff, and where better to find it than American Idol. This week they're doing the Beatles again. Technically, last week was just Lennon-McCartney, so now this week is dedicated to The Beatles generally, meaning I guess that now the repertory is expanded to include "Something" and Carl Perkins, as well.

This spells trouble for favorite David Archuletta who royally screwed up last week by not only doing a middling version of "We Can Work it Out" but forgetting the words as well. Unfortunately for the poor kid, he doesn't know any Beatles songs apparently.

Biker-chick Amanda Overmeyer is doing Back in the U.S.S.R. It's a good rocker, but it doesn't have alot of range, so she's not getting much of a chance to show off. Why not pick something like "Oh Darlin'!" or "Don't Let Me Down", where she could let her Joplinesque vocals run free? Not a bad job, came in strong at the end, but not real exciting. Randy and Paula are a bit cool on it - Simon is frying her - she's becoming predictable! McCartney pulled this one off effortlessly, of course, but like Lennon, McCartney had perfect rhythm and could sing any rock'n'roll like he was saying Good Morning, a skill they honed through weeks of 7 hour shows in Hamburg bars.

Kristie Lee Cook is singing "Hide Your Love Away". Kristie is in trouble, so she needs to come through here. Like many Idol contestants, her range is limited - you hear it on the lower nights - the voice loses power. There's something very unexciting about her style - she can hit the high notes great, but she has a bland approach. She may stick around since she's the only blonde country-oriented singer left in the competition, but she won't be around much longer. Simon is frying her.

Archuletta is giving a run at "Long and Winding Road". He's singing it straight, with just slight phrasing variations - good move - not a melody one is likely to improve on much. He's pitch-perfect, his voice rings true. Little bit of melody change at the end, some "soul" notes, but pretty impressive vocal work. Randy says take liberties with songs like that, but I think that's bull - there's some melodies you can fool with, but not a classic like this. Simon is full of praise. He nailed it.

Michael Johns is going to speed thru A Day in the Life. So far, pretty good - a bit crusty delivering "house of Lords" - a bit inexact on a few notes in the bridge. He has a terrific voice - but he screwed up the words! Must be tough for these kids, not having grown up with these songs. Too difficult a song to sing. Another bad song choice! Why aren't people advising these kids better on what to sing?! There's 200 Beatles songs, is it so hard to find one they can sing?

Blond, folksy Brooke White is up next. She kind of reminds me of a character who might have been in "A Mighty Wind" - you know, a sweet innocent type who's a closet sex-addict. "Here Comes the Sun" is her choice. She does well with the low notes. The song is a bit dull though, stripped of the Beatles arrangement - twelve-string guitars and synthesizers - and its pivotal role in Abbey Road. A nice job, but pretty unexciting. She'll stick around awhile because she's so blond and so thin. Paula agrees with me on the low notes, but the judges generally agree it was not a winning performance.

Bluesy David Cook up next. He did great last week. But this week he's doing Day Tripper - another tough song. Let's see. Pitch-perfect so far, and playing his own licks (on a left-handed ax!). Uh-oh - he's doing the voice-box thing - bit distracting. He has some kind of voice, though. He handled it pretty damn well. Simon is taking him down a peg.

Irish-chick Carly Smithson will sing "Blackbird". Her voice has depth, raspiness, and soul. She might have had a bit of trouble remembering the words there for a second - but she's giving the song a unique and charming performance. Another excellent job. Her low notes are throaty and strong - a sign of a good range. They all can hit the high notes - but are they getting there by sacrificing the low notes - that's the question. So if they struggle low, their range is limited. By the way, Carly is very representative of real Irish girls looks-wise - she's ok, but there's something just a bit off. Most American guys only see part-Irish girls, and expect that's what they're going to see when they visit the Emerald Isle and are sorely disappointed when they find it's not really a land overrun from Ulster to Munster with Shannen Dohertys (who is apparently also half-Irish as her mother's name was Rosa).

Now dreadlocked Jason Castro is singing Michelle. Nice enough, but his flow seems a bit rushed - there's a time limit, so they are rushed, but you need to appear unrushed. One thing McCartney had, even when his voice warbled a bit, was absolutely perfect rhythm, so these shortcomings can be glaring in comparison to the original.

Sayesha chooses Yesterday. It's tough to add anything new here - it's one of the most performed songs of all time. Boring - heard the song 10,000 times, didn't need to hear it again. Simon thinks she'll stick around, but I don't know - she's kind of boring and I'm not sure how big the Idol constituency is for pretty black girls (vs. her main competition at this point - the pretty blond Kristie). She's better than Kristie, but maybe not better enough.

Now Chickezie - singing a soulful "I've Just Seen a Face". Interesting take on what is essentially a folk-ballad. Now he's rockin' out - on the second verse, complete with blues harp, with bluegrass beat, and growling vocal. Very nice - it's good to hear a real different version of such a familiar song. Simon called it gimmicky - good point, but at this point in the competition they're just trying to stay in the game and be remembered, which I think he succeeded at with this effort.

Now the Asian Ramiele Malubay will sing "I Should've Known Better". Again trouble with the low notes - it's amazing how much trouble these singers are having with their ranges singing Beatles songs - it's not like the Beatles had trouble with them. Nice job - but, eh, not real inspiring. A very poppy song - you need to have a bit of gravitas in this contest, and songs like this don't bring that sense. Does she have the votes among Idol's Asian watchers to stay in?

I predict that Kristie Lee Cook be the one to go down tomorrow night (and this is one competition where going down can't help you!).


Anonymous Sully said...

Funny you should say Carly Smithson "is very representative of real Irish girls looks-wise...but there's something just a bit off."

Watching Carly last night, it finally dawned on me who it is she kept reminding me of. Post Culture Club Boy George! Before you laugh keep in mind George's last name is O'Dowd plus this does help support your "something just a bit off" line.

She does have a real nice voice. Perhaps "something just a bit off" would best describe Carly's husband's facial tatoos.

March 19, 2008 9:11 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

In case you couldn't get to Sully's link, here's the picture of Carly's husband - pretty disturbing.

March 19, 2008 7:35 PM  

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