Life as an Extreme Sport

American Idol, Top 8 Guys, Week Three

Out of consideration for folks who’ll end up reading this at both places it’s posted, I’m just going to place my predictions in the post proper. My full commentary on singers (and links to their YouTube videos) will be in the comment of this.

Well, plus I’ll tell you all to watch this clip of David Cook, because his performance was fucking amazing last night.

Top Three: David Cook, Jason Castro, Michael Oz
Bottom Three: Danny Noriega, Chikezie, Luke Menard
Top Six: David Archuleta, Michael Oz, David Cook, David Hernandez, Jason Castro, I want Danny in the final spot, but I suspect it will go to either Chikezie or Luke.
Should Go Home: Luke Menard, Chikezie
Will Go Home: Danny Noriega, Luke Menard

One comment

  1. This is American Idol.

    Ryan strolls down the stairs, announces the new stage and set, the shorter show, and… I am disappointed to see that the guys have not taken the time to embrace the 80s in their wardrobe. Bother. And asking contestants about their most embarrassing moments, while a nice link to the outfits o’the 80s, better not imply embarrassing moments of the 80s, because at least a handful of them weren’t born in the 80s, and most wouldn’t have even hit age 6 by the time the 80s were done. (I’ll let that one sink in a minute before continuing.)

    And speaking of continuing, let’s get to it.

    The first one on dock tonight is Luke Menard, whose most embarrassing moment was his older sister dressing eight year old him up as a ballerina, and then took pictures. Woe. Tragic. I pulled that kind of stunt with my brother from oh, his birth until around when I moved out… (so maybe I’m partly to blame for him being the clothes horse he is today). Anyhow. How… completely and utterly not embarrassing, unless of course you’re afraid to look like a girl, in which case, boring and he’s 29 and maybe should join the rest of us in the 51st century.

    Wait. Wrong show.

    Anyhow. He’s singing Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, and… I’m surprised. I’m really surprised to see someone even think about taking on not George Michael (he’s common cannon fodder on this show) but Wham!, and in particular this Wham! song. To his credit, although he started out on the way wrong note, he does have the same sort of high pitch in his voice that George Michael does. That said… man, he’s hitting some sour notes there, and the arrangement is kind of bizarre. Still, not a bad George Michael impression. Let’s give him a B- out the gate.

    That said, I predict the judges are going to come through and call him on the pitchy notes, the sort of strange arrangement, compliment him on his smile and engaging the audience, and overall be not terribly enthused. Let’s see if the judges and I are even in the same building tonight. Randy asks if he had fun, says it started out rough and he got ahead of the band timing wise – surprising song choice, kind of corny, just okay. Crowd boos. Paula agrees that she was surprised he picked the song. Paula then excuses herself, saying she has to pull a Randy and note she choreographed George Michael’s tour – and GO PAULA! I love it when the judges call each other out on that sort of thing, and Randy really is bad about the name-dropping. Simon is getting bored, cuts Paula off. Simon jumps in, says he didn’t like it, weak and girly, and gives him the no chance he’ll make it through to the final twelve speech. So… the judges want to keep him, then? And he can’t win, sayeth Simon the King.

    Simon is cranky tonight, oiy!

    Ryan comes on and asks why he wanted the Wham! song – Luke wanted something fun and uptempo. He appears to be taking Simon’s crankiness with a calm, which is… nice. Looks like it’s going to be rapid pace tonight, given the short show time (which also might have something to do with CrankySimon.)

    David Archuleta is up next, and oh dear… is doing Another Day in Paradise, which used to be one of my favourite songs. And then Ryan outs David as being both thirsty and having to pee, and… thanks for the information, Ryan? Just what I needed to know? David’s most embarrassing moment? He went to Honduras for a fundraiser, and he sang a song in Spanish, and then his voice gave out and his mother ran up on stage to finish singing the song for him.

    Given that, I can see why Ryan opted to embarrass him with the thirsty and needing to pee thing. At 17, the kid should really have something more embarrassing than “Mom ran onto stage and finished singing a song for me.” …then again, at 17, maybe that really is death as you know it.

    And cue Phil… oh! David’s playing piano! And just accompanying himself. He starts at the beginning, too – and this is almost a cappella. Hot. Damn. This is… beautiful. Arrangement, voice, everything. Wow. A fucking plus.

    Judges? Randy says “it’s like watching one of your concerts – I like that.” Another interesting song choice, no showing all song choices. A few pitch problems, it was nice. Randy is underplaying it. Paula liked the offness, because it proves his realness – and wow, Simon is really fucking cranky. Paula applauds his ability to pick songs. Simon doesn’t find it as good as last week – says he should have stayed at the piano, which I do agree. Simon thinks he needs to lighten up; two sad songs in a row (Imagine is a sad song? I agree with the WTF of David on this one), and now they need a lightness. I see Simon’s point, but Simon also acknowledges that this kid will not only soar through to next week, he’ll likely soar through to the final two. Hard to argue with that. And hey! Constructive criticism from Simon! Someone pass him a note so he knows what’s constructive criticism, and what’s snarkyassBritishjudge criticism.

    Ryan bounds up and tells David that any song involving intimacy is depressing for Simon, and Simon? Not in the mood. David says the song talks about homelessness, and he was thinking about what a great song because it brings attention to people around the world who have nothing. This kid would be nauseatingly sweet if he wasn’t so… sweet. It’s way contradictory.

    Danny Noriega – His most embarrassing moment is his friend tripping him on the stairs at a movie, and him falling in front of a crush (“and I turned as red as a tomato.. and ran…”). Oh, to be 17 again.

    Noriega is looking rather pulled together in a kind of appealing Harry Potter ran through the 80s way, and to no one who’s been paying attention to things like his online available playlist, he’s singing Tainted Love. I’m already braced for the worst. Oh… dear. He’s… he’s trying to go somewhere between Marilyn Manson’s cover and the original. And he’s pulling the most ubergay/drag faces, and it’s not, not good.

    The judges are going to shred this. The sad thing is, this could have been awesome, and has some nuggets of good… but it was bad. It was really bad. D.

    And I can tell from Randy’s laughing that he agrees, already. Good and bad, dawg – Randy loved the arrangement, liked the confidence and conviction, but it was pitchy and started off odd. Randy says it started off shy, and Simon about bugs his eyes out in “WHAT?!” shock at the statement, and then just cracks up. (Just noticed the purple streaks in Danny’s hair – I approve.) Randy’s clarifies no, Noriega has all the mad attitude for everyone in the place, but that vocally it was shy. Okay, I can see that point. Paula is focusing on his personality and that’s never a good thing. She does compliment his voice… but then tells him to “take the purple things out of your hair.” He’s shocked she doesn’t like it, and she says she does but… it comes out, right? He tells her in two days or so, and Simon’s bored and wondering why it matters.

    At the moment, my playback is frozen on a very sad shot of Danny, which I think is probably a lot more revealing of him that he would want. It’s that almost painfully hurt look some kids, the ones who are masters at putting up cheerful shells and fronts, who wear that mask with aplomb and ease, get when for just a second, a fleeting and small second, they drop everything and let how they’re really feeling show – shine, really, because it’s so painfully bright – and you can’t help but hurt in time with him.

    And Simon’s going to administer the coup de grace now, and with that frozen frame on my screen, I don’t like Simon very much for what I know is coming. Simon thought it was horrible, the whole thing, didn’t like it, absolutely useless, sorry, didn’t like it hated, the arrangement, hated the performance, hated the vocal, didn’t like anything about it.

    Simon, please to be seeing: constructive criticism.

    Ryan comes on stage and says he hates to even know what Danny must be thinking now, so… maybe we can leave the poor kid alone and let him pull himself together without the spotlight of 32 million viewers on him? Danny gives an mumbling mmm and brushes dirt off his shoulders, which the judges – including Simon – appear to appreciate. And the judges are doing… moose ears. Poor Danny, though, has tears in his eyes. Ryan asks about Paula’s spicy/sensitive comment, and Randy says “rather like Simon” as Simon says “rather like a chicken wing”, and… guys? Let the kid go cry in privacy.

    Ryan gives out the numbers, and pauses to say “I didn’t actually notice those until now” (referring to the purple streaks), and Danny busts out with the best divalicious “mmmmhm”, to which Ryan pulls a puzzled – but to Ryan’s credit, it works, and Danny breaks out in the first smile he’s had since Simon started in on him.

    David Hernandez – his most embarrassing moment is doing a photoshoot that he’s excited for, and when he gets the proofs, he has a pea-sized bugger in all the images. Well, okay, thanks for sharing? I guess we should be grateful he clarified that he was excited about the clothes he’s wearing. (For those who have missed the “controversy”, Hernandez is apparently a stripper who works in gay clubs – or was prior to getting on the show.)

    He has apparently decided that Meatloaf was the right 80s singer for him to tackle, and is doing It’s All Coming Back to Me Now – is this the first time Steinman has been featured on the show? It can’t be, can it?

    Huh. Nice intro. Just him and a piano, and his voice is really, really strong. And sadly, much like the other David, when the band joins up and in, it gets worse – it almost sounds like they throw him off, as he almost immediately loses his pitch. And then it turns into a weird Elliot Yamin parody, and I am sad – it started off with such promise. As the song ends, someone has forgotten to mute Simon’s mic, and we can hear him say something about “I don’t like the way he stripped it…” …we’ll assume he’s talking about the song.

    Sigh. Beautiful start, lousy finish. C.

    And the judges? Randy thought it was a nice song choice, but there were weird pitch problems – he overshoots the notes and gets sharp. Paula thinks he’s getting into his groove and niche, and she compliments the performance, and he loves her for saying he has some of the best voices. And Simon says it wasn’t as good as last week, he prefers David singing the soul songs, but he’s 100% secured a place in the finals next week based on that. …which makes me nervous; that’s the kind of thing that can get someone voted off on this show. Hernandez is gracious about it, at least.

    Michael Oz – so something happened here; Cook was supposed to go but they come back and instead throw Oz on stage. Apparently there’s a guitar problem with Cook, so they changed the order. Ryan asks him about game plan, and Oz says to show what sort of artist he is (rock, soul, a bit of dance). They are able to cue the tape, and his most embarrassing moment is being beaten up, badly, while done up in a kangaroo mascot at a rugby match…. in front of 20,000 people. Now that’s embarrassing.

    And oh, oh, he’s making me happy, he’s singing Don’t You Forget About Me and in his honour, I will use my icon of that! Mmm nice start. He’s definitely pulling a Michael Hutchence on this… but, ugh, the arrangement goes a bit south for me, and he gets weirdly off the notes for a minute, and then goes to the shouty place. Which… perhaps you have to do on this song.

    Still, I shall give him a B, to love him and pet him and call him ours.

    Judges: Randy liked that he went home for the 80s, calls him on the Michael Hutchence comparison again. Randy notes it was a “so him” performance, and Randy loved it. Paula likes that she’s defining himself as an artist, and she enjoyed hearing the strength in his low range, compliments his presence. Simon liked it, didn’t love it, still thinks that he has a huge talent but hasn’t quite connected with the right song. He prefers him as a soul rock… but Simon emphasizes that he really really likes Michael, who will go far.

    Ryan comes up, and notes it’s from one of the 80s movies. “Yeah, The Breakfast Club” says Oz. “I mean, I was the victim of an older sister, so I was made to watch it a lot…” *snerk* The victim of an older sister. I like that. Hah, Simon chimes in that he’s got the same problem, but points to Paula as the older sister. Heh, someone’s mood has improved – he must really like Michael.

    Does David have a guitar? Find out after the break!

    Yep. He has a guitar. And is standing next to Ryan, as Ryan verifies that the massive panic we missed during commercial break has brought about… the strumming of an electric guitar.

    David Cook – David C’s most embarrassing moment? He sang “Sandman” by America in a talent show, and realized he didn’t know the second verse. So instead of faking it, he just froze like a statue. Heh, sounds like a kid-move.

    He’s singing Hello, which is… not a song I would have ever expected him to pick, and. It’s not a rock song. Maybe it’s wrong that’s my first response, but I’ll betcha the judges are having the same reaction. Except… he’s giving this the Daughtry treatment, and… holy fuck.

    I. Wow.

    I have no words.

    Wait, yes I do. Watch that YouTube clip. Now. Because that was fucking amazing.

    A+. Stellar. Would buy now. In fact, I think I will, after the show is over. Whoa.

    Judges? What did Randy love about it? David made a slightly emo version of an extreme pop song. Great, fabu arrangement, it could be a single now and a hit (yes). Paula totally loved it – wonderful surprise. It was fabulous. It would and should be a hit today. Perfect song choice. And Simon? (Heh, David takes a deep breath as Paula ends and they cut to Simon.) Simon says it was a very brave thing to do, and Simon loved it. And David collapses. Ryan bounds onto the stage, but Simon cuts him off: “You know what, David? I like people who go out there and take a few risks. And it was unpredictable, it worked, I think Lionel Ritchie will love that when he hears it, and I really really hope we see you next week.”

    Me too. Me fucking too. Do not get this one wrong, America! Or we will not be on speaking terms!

    Jason Castro – his most embarrassing moment? He was out on a date (with a girl, he clarifies), the food came out, he went to tie his hair back with his dreds, and… one came off in his hands. So he’s at the dinner table, food just out, with a handful of dred. This was apparently really bad and awkward, and even brings us the stoner laugh… and, I’ll take his word for it.

    He’s on a stool, on the stage in a spotlight, and he did ditch the guitar, per orders for the week Oh, he’s doing Hallelujah – I wonder which version… sounds like the Wainwright arrangement. (He is being accompanied solely on a guitar, which is a nice change from the more typical piano.) He’s emoting this song very well – hit a sort of sour high note at the end, though.

    Very downkey and nice. I’ve to admit, I loved it. Another I think I’ll go buy. Solid A.

    Randy says – great degree of difficulty, one of his favourite songs (and really, who doesn’t love this song?). He did a pretty good job, tall order to master, but gets props for coming out sans guitar and just doing it. Nice, nice, etc. Paula says although it’s very difficult, he made it sounds effortless, and she’s glad he showed the vulnerability without the guitar protecting him. Paula says he’s unique, recognizable, and has great phrasing. Simon says the Jeff Buckley is one of his favourite versions of the songs, as well (again…), and Simon says that it was, simply put, absolutely brilliant. Aaw, and Jason gets this most adorable smile. “Lovely, I loved it.” Simon says. “Arguably one of my favourite performances of the night, my favourite of yours, and you are getting better and better and better – I’m very happy.”

    Ryan lets him off the hook regarding interviewing, but asks how he feels. “Very good.” Heh, again. Nicely downkey.

    Chikezie, when he first started high school, always went to the same bathroom – it was apparently the cleanest, and he never knew why he was always alone there. And then! He finds out it’s the women’s bathroom. …because apparently tampon and maxi machines (and disposals) didn’t clue him in?

    He’s closing us out with All the Woman that I Need, which is not a ringingbellforme song. He’s hitting some sour notes, which on him are for some reason noticeably sour. I don’t really have a lot to say, other than I suppose it was not memorable, which is a bad thing right now – especially for closing out. And again, Simon’s mic is live, and you can hear him asking “that was Whitney, right?”

    That is not a good sign. For if it was Whitney, he tried to touch one of the “do not touch!” singers, he changed the gender (which Simon hates with a burning passion), and really butchered the song because I really have no clue which Whitney song it was.

    Let’s see what the judges say. Randy said it was an interesting song choice, but says he did a good job; last night was surprising. Apparently a tough song choice. Paula says meaningless stuff (although I do agree that the guys just served the girls), and Simon confirms it was a Whitney song and said no, it didn’t work (even though Luther Vandros covered it?). He thought it was cabaret, over the top compared to last week, and then the audience boos, Simon tells them to boo all they want and is smiling through it – did someone blow him during the show, he’s in a much better mood at the end than he was at the start – and basically the audience cuts him off as he says “I don’t think it was a smart move.”

    Ryan wants to hear Randy sum it up – it started off rough for Randy, but the guys worked it out. Does Chikezie deserve a spot next week? Randy says yes, and Simon jumps in to say “alright then – who doesn’t?” Good question – I know Randy’d like to see Luke go home, and I suspect Noriega.

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