Life as an Extreme Sport

American Idol, Week 2 – 70s Night, Top Ten Guys

Apologies for the after the results show posting. I’ve been hit with Flu 2.0 with the strep throat upgrade, and don’t recommend anyone go this particular route. Throwing up & strep throat is just a combination for utter misery. And the fever that particular combo gave me is firmly where I place the blame for any and all typos.

Simon looks like he swallowed a lemon. Not a good sign, at the start of the show. Randy busts out the first in it to win it, Paula thinks the nerves are gone, Simon’s succinct and tells the ones who sucked that they need to be better. And yes, rumours are true – this week is 70s covers, which means next week is 80s night. God help us all.

Michael Oz – he’s a jock! A tennis player! He plays tournaments! …someone ought to tell the Aussie that tennis isn’t really considered a jock-y sport. And he brings the Fleetwood Mac, singing Go Your Own Way. And… it’s not very good. He’s hitting some bad notes on the chorus, and he’s just not Stevie Nicks. Or Mic Fleetwood. Or,… yeah. I know he was warned to not be always the rocker, but this is the sort of song you need to rock on. Not shout on. I hope Amanda covers this tomorrow night, though. Nice end, though, will give him that.

Meh, overall maybe a B-.

Do the judges agree with me? Randy thought it was a nice way to start off, not his best, nice song, good tone, but he didn’t let go with it. Paula says he’s consistent and it was a good way to start off. Hopefully Simon’s sane… says it was okay, weakest performance for him for the entire competition, it was coasting along, and a weak song choice. And as usual, Randy and Paula cut off Simon.

With Randy, Michael says it was the right choice for him, only because he’s always dreamed of singing Fleetwood Mac. Yeah well, so’ve I. Doesn’t mean I’ll go out and butcher their songs.

Jason Castro – seems incredibly mellow. Oh, god, this is the surprised to know segment/week. Jason hates doing interviews! How cute and charming and… not. Okay, except maybe a little. He’s got his guitar out, and he’s singing… something I don’t immediately recognize. Nice, though – for the first bit, it was just him and guitar. I don’t know this song, but I’m surprised it’s a 70s song. It sounds like something I’d expect Rob Thomas or the dude from Counting Crows to sing (and in fact, that’s really what/who he reminds me of). That was really nice. Goddamnit, the hippie is growing on me! I’ll give him an A.

Oh! The song was The BeeGees, which makes sense, I Just Wanna Be Your Everything.

And the judges? Randy thinks it was interesting, and when he’s with the guitar, it’s cool, but if he takes it away the vocals were only okay – Randy busts out the karaoke critique, but Paula disagrees. Paula calls Jason cute, said it was a clever song choice, likes the interpretation, especially with the music, but Paula wants him without the guitar next week. I can see her point. Simon thought the song was horrible, it was too schmaltzy and didn’t suit his voice, and it was all out of sorts.

So the judges and I? Nowhere near the same page.

Ryan and Jason – no chitchatter. Maybe Ryan took note of the not liking interview?

Luke Menard – he’s part of an a cappella group! Yay! Boring. And really, shouldn’t he be a better singer than he is? Or is he gonna bust out the “I’m so accustomed to an ear monitor” excuse? He’s singing… I should know this song. It’s gotta be a Queen song, based on the notes alone… it’s uhm. Oh, for fuck’s sake, someone revoke my musicalpersoncard, it’s Killer Queen. And what a fucking bizarre song choice. He’s going for the Freddy Mercury notes, and I guess he’s hitting them, but I’d really like to see him singing something lower/faster/not so schmaltzy. Cuz dude ain’t no Mercury. He can have a B.

Randy thinks he chose a tough song, and he likes him better this week than last, it was pitchy but decent. Paula? Perfect song choice, good vocal performance, she’s glad she fought for him. Simon needles Paula, tells the audience “enough” and says that when you sing a Queen song, you’re always going to be compared to the original, and Mercury had charisma and charm – Luke did not.

Ryan says the judges are confusing, Simon says it’s such a shock that Paula disagrees with him, Luke says he was 0 for 3 last week and is 2 for 3 this week, and Ryan calls Luke Dawson Creek, which alone makes me wanna kiss him (Ryan).

Robbie Carrico – is up in the Coke room and looks… like Bo. He’s scaring me. I am gonna hide under the blankies now. And then Carrico takes a shot at Simon and tells him he’s wrong about what kind of rock there is, and the judges all look very “wtf” like “that was not a good idea”. And seriously, when will contestants learn backtalking to the judges just does not work? Oh, Carrico drag races. Whatever.

Oh help. He’s doing Hotblooded – and please, like anyone will top David Boreanaz and Emily Deschenel doing this? He’s not doing any air guitar or high kicks! Oh, man, this is really, really awful. It’s so painfully down key and slow, and just… bad. Make it stop! Ohew. Badbadbad. FAIL.

Of course, so far the judges and I have been in different areas of the library… hah. Randy tells him there are different kinds of rock, sure, BUT… Robbie ain’t rock. He wasn’t wowed, nothing killed him. It was Just. Okay. Paula said it drives someone crazy to be told who they are, and maybe, except… no. That’s what these people are supposed to be doing. Paula said he played it safe, and lost his character and personality, and he got too wound up listening to everyone else’s opinion. Which, okay, fair. Randy also said rock is an attitude, not something you have to prove. (Robbie tries to break in and says why does he have to prove it?) Simon tells him it’s only an opinion, he doesn’t need to get so defensive, and the vocal was okay.

Ryan comes on, asks what he’s thinking when he gets feedback. Robbie says something meaningless, and the thing is? He doesn’t have to prove he’s a rocker in how he dresses or his attitude with the judges, he needs to prove it in his attitude while singing and covering songs – and that’s where he’s failing.

Danny Noriega – he was in a punk rock band. Oh dear. In 9th grade! How…cute? God, this guy is the posterchild for stereotypical gay guy. He’s singing Superstar, and is wobbly and out of tune from the getgo. And he’s trying to be sincere… he’s too young to be this sincere, or know this much about love. Dear American Idol producers, if you’re going to have youngsters on the show, please give them options to sing songs that they can emotionally relate to. This guy is tripping every single Sanjaya button for me this week. C-. Also, someone should coach them on the slow songs coming at the end of the competition logic…

Judges: Randy starts off saying he’s a fan, which is never a good thing. Too much slow vibrato, too much thinking, should have been sped up, he has a good voice, and should show it off. Paula says he has amazing vocal skill, but there’s a huge but coming, and she tells him to stop overthinking and stop thinking about the judges, and just perform. (Apparently he picked The Carpenters version of the song?) Simon says it was better than last week, but he was overconcentrating. But Simon says he looks terrific on camera, is interesting and stands out – so… okay.

Ryan comes on, Danny agrees last week was a disaster, Simon teases him and you can obviously tell that the judges do like him. I just wish someone would tell the kid he doesn’t have to be a stereotype.

David Hernandez – is throwing rocker horns and should not. All the girls are present in the… what, catpound? bitchpound? Who knows. America, are we surprised David was in gymnastics? And how embarrassing are those uniforms with the leotards just like the girls, so you put on those pants real fast! Yawn.

He’s singing, oh dear, one of my favourite songs. And appears to be dead set on butchering Papa Was A Rolling Stone. Seriously, watch this and then go watch the one Carrie Ann’s team did during Dance War. That was a good take on the song. The thing is, this is a spoken word song as much as a singing song, and you just have to make it interesting – which this wasn’t. He does a nice enough finish, and I guess maybe he was trying to build to it – but the guy’s voice just… I wanna hear Syesha sing this, not Hernandez. He should be doing Journey or some shit. B-.

Judges – Randy thought it was hot, very good. Paula thinks his voice is really pure, great notes right in the pocket, amazing notes, and a good personality. Didn’t oversell the song, just hit it perfectly. And Simon says that it might surprise David, but it was the best vocal of the night – and David lights up as he should. Simon likes, about David, that rather than sulk when he receives criticism, he rises to the challenge. Simon says he wasn’t a fan, but is now.

Ryan sneaks onto the stage, and asks Paula why the 70s was a good time for music. Ryan says David’s honesty is charming… he’s just too needy puppy for me. Oh well.

Jason Yeager – who I totally didn’t recognize in the “guys lineup” at first. Jason apparently plays a lot of instruments, and is self-taught. Which, is impressive – he plays well, so he’s gotta have a decent ear for music. He’s holding off on playing an instrument until he finds the right song, so.. thank you at least.

He comes out singing Long Train Running, which is another good song from that era. It’s more upbeat, which is good for him – and he sort of looks like he absorbed some of David Cook, Mystique-like. It’s bizarre, to say the least. Hmm. His voice reminds me of Vinnie James, which is actually not a bad thing. Still. Weird. C-.

Randy doesn’t think it’s a singer’s song, it was pitchy and karaoke, and Randy didn’t get it. Paula says it was fun to see this side of him after last week, but she’s having a hard time figuring out what to say… and opts to say be careful about song choice because there aren’t a lot of notes in that song, and he needs to pick singer’s songs. Simon called it awkward and boring, with a horrific ending, ghastly performance. Simon calls him a quite good singer who can’t perform well at all.

Ryan comes out, says it’s not an easy one. Jason said it hasn’t been an easy few weeks. He thought about the song hard, so he’s surprised, and was trying not to be an old dog. So Ryan makes it worse and ask how you take it, how do you make it work for you next week. Simon calls it neverending, and he’s misery because the speechifying just won’t end.

Chikesie – is… apparently doing Donny Hathaway, so… help? He explains how to pronounce his name, which is Nigerian Ebo, and its meaning (“something well created by God”). And the guy seems genuinely nice off camera, so maybe this week less creepifying? He’s singing a song I don’t know. Or I think I don’t know, anyhow… I Believe To My Soul, which, explains my confusion since that’s a Ray Charles song that Donny Hathaway covered. He changes up the words to put his name in it, which works surprisingly well, and his voice is definitely better this week, but his fashion choices? He went from 70s pimp last week to 5th grade play yard this, and it’s just not a good thing. Singingwise, though, he can have a B-.

Randy thinks Chikezie is back, this is the guy they fell in love with, it was hot, he’s in it to win it. Paula? Said it was very clever to pick a song and a story and incorporate it. Simon nearly screws up again, and decides to call him Che, says it was clever and a million times better. Simon asks him if he agreed it wasn’t a good performance last week? He says he let Simon get to him, but he won’t wear the suit again, and then he backtalks to Simon and immediately realizes his mistake and falls over himself apologizing. Paula, Randy and Ryan crack up, and Simon says he’s just starting to like him and WHOMP he becomes unlikeable again… but I’m not sure I agree.

Ryan is cracking up on stage, and apparently one of the backup singers on Idol is one of Hathaway’s daughters? Huh. At least Chikezie knows backtalking is a bad idea.

David Cook – he’s a word nerd! He likes crossword puzzles, word searches, likes vocabulary. What a geek – but kinda cutely so. But what’s with the scarf, again? He’s out with an electric guitar this week, singing All Right Now. And really, I think this is what Robbie wants to be, while Cook generally wants to be what Michael Oz is on a good day. Still, it’s a good and solid performance, and I can’t knock it for much other than not being too creative. B+

Judges? (Which, you should know, I always hear in my head like Cat Deeley is pronouncing it.) Randy loves the throwing the picks in the crowd, like a real rock star – hah, Randy calls him the real rocker from the boys this year; like I said, what Robbie wants to be. Paula compliments the band, and compliments David as being the real deal. She says it was smart and relevant, and then we’re at Simon. Simon says it was solid, believable – but the film? Tennis and drag racing to crosswords? It was boring, and that’s what Simon says is the problem – David’s missing a lot of charisma. Aaand David cuts Simon off, and says he doesn’t have to win Simon over with the charisma, he has to win the public over. Oooh dear. People! Backtalking Simon! Don’t!

Ryan asks why last week was a wakeup call? David says he thought it was just singing at first, and then said he realized it was charisma, it was performance, a lot more. Ryan asks why Simon is annoyed – Simon says he’s annoyed at the repeating of the rules, and that the criticism is meant to be constructive. I’d sort of like to sit down with Simon and explain the idea of constructive criticism.

Wow, Ryan mentions Archuleta, and the crowd goes wild.

David Archuleta – oh dear, he’s doing John Lennon. Probably the one that’s all over YouTube. They show the other popular YouTube clip, of him at 11 blowing the socks off the first season of American Idol winners. And yep, he’s doing Imagine, which is what is all over YouTube. And… I don’t know how to feel about this; on the one hand, what are the chances of anyone doing songs they haven’t sung before? On the other hand, this is all over the place.

To his credit, it was a good rendition when I heard it on YouTube, and is still a good one now. But I wonder at the wisdom of a slow song? Then again, it’s Archuleta, and I’m pretty sure he’d have to get on stage nude and fling poo at the cameras to lose votes. And how do you judge something you’ve heard before? Crowd loves it, and he sure as hell isn’t going anywhere.

Randy loved it, one of the best vocals he’s ever heard on the show, he’s singing with maturity way beyond his years (which, valid and true); Randy calls is brilliant, and asks why he picked the third verse. David says he only had time for one verse, and the third is his favourite and has the best message. Paula calls him adorable in her typical Paula-way, and says it was a moving performance. Will Simon deflate the ego? Simon says doing John Lennon is very risky, especially that one, but it worked, and David is the one to beat. Which, yeah, also valid.

Ryan comes on stage, the crowd goes wild with David, who looks extremely embarrassed. Heh. Ryan walks off and David begs Ryan not to leave him on the stage. David’s very gracious, goes beet red when someone screams “we love you David”.

Top Three: David Archuleta, David Hernandez, Jason Castro
Bottom Three: Jason Yeager, Luke Menard, Robbie Carrico
Making the Top Six: Jason Castro, David Hernandez, Michael Oz, David Archuleta, David Cook, * uncertain if it will be Chikezie or Danny Noriega; tempted to go with Noriega, though
Should Go Home: Luke Menard, Jason Yeager
Will Go Home: Jason Yeager, Robbie Carrico