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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

IdolCritics, Top 9

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

From Roller:  Thanks for your input, NPH.  Let me be clear: Lambert is good, and he's good TV... you have that right.  But, that doesn't mean that I have to think that "Play that Funky Music, White Boy," has any place in the "most downloaded" category, and I also think that the judges saying he made that song contemporary was a little obsequious.  That song is not, and really, can't be, contemporary.  Lambert might need to be careful - he can look sort of creepy sometimes (see Steven Tyler and Mick Jagger reference), and I don't know if that helps him with the younger set.  

I watched the results show last night.  Some thoughts:  
I loved Megan getting in the face of the judges.  She said in an interview that she did that 'cause she was sick of the judges talking out loud to one another during the contestants' performances.  Good for her.  

Kara's response to Ryan when questioned about the heckler (who was Megan's brother, apparently) who called her a broken record was weak.  Kara is getting more annoying all the time, though she has yet to break into Paula's realm of irrationality and incomprehensibility. 

The lip-syncing at the front of the show in the "Don't Stop Believing" number was terrible.  Especially Allison.  She looked like she was chewing cud or something.  Danny was the only one who was somewhat believable, and that is because he had enough good sense to obscure part of his mouth with the microphone.  It didn't even look like Scott was actually playing the song, as his hand movements didn't match the music.  That keyboard was not plugged in.  

In the Ford video, the rapping from Kris Allen was actually pretty good.  

We referred to Matt, in our house, as looking like a "much uglier Justin Timberlake."  

I was surprised that 'Lil wasn't bottom three... and I think she's going to have a tough time sticking for too much longer, honestly.  Her age/appeal to a younger audience is showing.  If they hadn't pimped her so hard during the prelims/auditions, I doubt she'd still be here (as opposed to Megan Joy and Kris, who were ONLY shown at auditions before the round of 32). 

Okay... I'll leave it to you.  

From NPH: Roller, welcome aboard. I'm totally with you: criticizing song choice is such a standard part of the judges repartee that it means absolutely nothing. It's the one concrete thing they can critique about a contestant (aside from their outfit), because everything else boils down to, "you worked it out" or "I wasn't feelin' you." And we now know just how little "choice" may be involved on Idols' parts.

I'll grant your assessment of most of the performances, but what is foolishness to you about Lambert's number is brilliance to me (note: not "artistry" but sheer entertainment brilliance). People are drawn to Adam Lambert either as a bee to honey or a moth to fire. But they're drawn to him all the same, and that's why he's got the best shot of winning. He's got an undeniable set of skills, better suited for an 80's hair band than anything he'll get to do on Idol, you're right, but whether you're revolted by his performances or delighted by them, you're interested in him. He's water cooler fodder. And, after all, this is television; you don't have to impress people so much as you have to give them something to watch.

From The Roller: Well, I am finally making my long-awaited debut. I feel as though I'm being forced into this unprepared, however, as I haven't even watched the results show yet! I know, it's been a bit of a crazy few weeks.

I gather that Megan, Anoop, and Allison were the bottom three. Can't say that I can argue with that.

One thing that's ticking me off this year... the judges suggesting songs/artists to contestants after they have already performed. It's lame. We don't know how the song selection process works, only that it's not something where "any" song is available (Danny's comment about Motown week and having to sing his 5th choice)... so get off song selection. Just give us a legitimate critique of the performance we heard! It's been a bit silly this year.

My personal rundown on the performances:

Scott will find himself there soon enough though. His Billy Joel was good... but the judges heaped the praise on pretty heavy. Though, the "birth year" thing could work out well for him next week. He has a feel for older songs, and is in no way a contemporary artist. Though, I suppose he's contemporary in the same way Barry Manilow is contemporary... meaning, he could release an album, but he's not going to break any new ground.
Anoop: looked okay, except for the snarly face... that was creepy. Other than that, I can't for the life of me remember what it was that he sang, so that pretty much says it all.

Danny: The Rascal Flatts was a nice choice - big crossover appeal to this band, and the emotional touches on the song that sort of remind one of his touching backstory are going to help him in the votes department.

Lil: I thought this was weak... really weak. I don't know if it sounded better in studio, but I was waiting for the judges to stick it to her, and they softballed the critique. Not impressed with their work there. I, honestly, thought she'd be bottom 3, if not a surprise exit. She is a threat, if only because she's had two pretty shaky weeks and has not found herself in the bottom three yet. Divas usually get voted off in the 3-4-5 spots, right?

Allison: Wow. She was WAY better than the judges gave her credit for... if a little shouty. I think you're right. If she were gone, they'd have saved her. All the focus on her crazy outfit overshadowed what should have been a "hey, nice rendition of an iconic song."

Matt: the more camera time this guy gets, the more I begin to think that my long-ago prediction about him in the finals might be a bit overstated. The Fray is not that different from OneRepublic... get off that train Randy. Interestingly enough though, the fray has been popular in Christian circles, and we know that matt has recorded in that genre before. All that said, I will predict that Matt will show up on the ubiquitous WOW Hits Christian compilation cds within 3 years.

Kris: This was a solid, solid performance... though I still don't think he has a chance at winning. But... I didn't think he had a chance of advancing out of his 12, so he might have a fan base that I am just not aware of.

Megan: This was actually pretty good. For 30 seconds. Then... too much Megan. Bye.

Lambert: This number was foolish. I was embarrassed for him. Ridiculous. Are you honestly telling me you liked this? It was painful to me. Sure, he sang well... but "Play that funky music, white boy?" Ugh. How is this a "most downloaded" song? What? I will be super, super upset if he goes this whole stinking season without singing "I Remember You" by Skid Row, or anything of the Sebastian Bach, Warrant, Bad English, even Guns n' Roses flavor. This guy has a voice made for that stuff. Paula's comparison to Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler was interesting. She puts Adam in a class with two iconic rockers... and two dudes who are seen by younger audiences as relics - old dudes whose on-stage sexuality borders on the creepy. And dudes with crazy mouths... though I'm not sure the last part is relevant.

As for the genre stuff... well, I don't agree. Conceptually, yes, looking at genre/artist based weeks can be fun. Yet, how soon we forget "Gloria Estefan" week? Disco week? What the heck. This, I felt, was the worst thing about Idol (at least in the older days): forcing people to sing songs and artists that they NEVER would end up recording. Some of the genre-bending that has occurred since Daughtry has helped this, but I still like when they give a wide berth to the contestants. They could probably get record labels to sponsor a week, and give them a buch to choose from. That might be a nice compromise.

Iraheta and Lambert? Maybe. I wouldn't put it past Lambert or Allison to really screw up one week. But they are certainly among the top contenders.

Anyway... that's it. I'm just Rolling in the BC.

From NPH
: We're expecting a new IdolCritic voice this week to accompany The Producer and yours truly. He has the NPH 411, so he can make his appearance any time now.

Any time.


Gents, a couple of interesting things happened this week that shed some light on the phenomenon that is American Idol. A departing contestant effectively gave the bird to the judges, who promptly returned the favor by declining to even discuss employing the "judge's save." Good on Cowell for that, I say; the judge's save is a gimmick that doesn't really mean anything. I remarked when the bottom three were revealed that if Iraheta were the victim, the judge's might save her. But she wasn't, and there was no way Megan or Anoop were getting that favor. Megan knew that. To her credit, she said she didn't care, and we all believed her.

Also of note in the Top 9: Iraheta cracked on her Idol-ness Kara DioGuardi, saying, "She's not going to sing, is she?" pointing up the new judge's embarrasing habit of re-doing contestants performances for them. Matt Giraud hammered out a Fray mock-up while standing at a keyboard in a leather jacket. How 1985.

I came away from this week's developments with a couple of insights to test on you guys. First, Lambert is so, so far removed from the rest of the field because he makes for better television. Idol is, after all, a television show, and television is a visual medium. Lambert is a good looking guy who knows how to perform. He has a police siren of a voice, of course, which only helps. But, primarily, he's good t.v.

Secondly, Idol is much better when contestants have to work with a genre. The nod to big-4 sponsor Apple pays the bills (songs were chosen from popular iTunes downloads and contestants were filmed in the opening piece wearing iPod earbuds for no apparent reason), but the availability of such a wide catalogue of music makes for a scattered show. Anoop does Usher before Danny does Rascal Flats while Megan does Bob Marley and Kris does Bill Withers. To the t.v. point again: it's bad. It's for more interesting when performers have to work within the constraints of a genre like Motown or country. Next week is the pick-a-song-from-the-year-you-were-born episode, so no help on that front (last year, David Cook threw down his quasi-controversial "Billy Jean" performance during this week; anything can happen).

Here's the bold prediction that came to me this week: Iraheta and Lambert in the finale.

Discuss. And enjoy Sir Idol below, who rocked it in his return to the show tonight.


posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 10:37 PM


so... the whole "no comment" thing makes me think, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it..."

thus, you now know why I have never taken to blogging. I need no concrete evidence that I am "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
commented by Anonymous matt, 10:44 AM  

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