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American Idol thoughts

March 17, 2011

My (sometimes boring, always opinionated) American Idol thoughts…

Naima: I was happy when you were a judge’s wild card choice and I’d really like to like you, but despite looking the part of a pop singer and having some nice dance moves that go along with being a pop singer, you seem to lack the one thing necessary to actually being a pop singer: a good singing voice. I’m sorry, but I don’t think you’re long for the competition and combining the first singer death slot with a weak, poorly judged performance, your exit could be tonight.

Paul: I’d really like to not like you and I try my darndest to not like you, but every week you make me like you just a little bit more. I’m still not a fan of your dancing and there’s something odd about your voice but it’s a nice odd and I sort of like the way it sounds. Stop it! It’s more fun for me to try and not like you!

Thia: You have a great voice but to me you seem all wrong – and unprepared – for this competition. I have one reaction to teenagers singing the slow ballads that you’re singing: “UGH!” Sing songs fitting to your age or go home. And maybe go hang around with Lauren.

James: You continue to impress me more and more each week. Another standout performance last night and by far the best of the evening. And yes, I’m looking forward to a James and Steven Tyler pairing at the finale!

Haley: I like you and you have a fantastic voice, but you seem like you really don’t care if you’re there or not. Maybe when you’re watching the show from home in the next couple of weeks you’ll care? Oh well. But please do me a favor and as long as you’re still in the competition, please continue to wear red lipstick. And you might also want to think about sending Naima a thank-you note.

Stefano: I get a kick when these singers do covers of covers which makes a song from 1972 suddenly a song from 1989. Oh well. I’m not a Stefano fan and I think Robbie Rosen should have gotten the wild card over Stefano, but I’ll give him credit for what I thought was a great performance two weeks in a row now and the second best performance last night. I hate to quote Randy Jackson, but Stefano, while certainly no Teddy Pendergrass, might be in it to win it. (Please see the video below for the definitive version of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”)

Pia: I wasn’t familiar with the song (which is usually a good thing for me when I watch American Idol) and all I can say is: Wow. My only suggestion would be that unless you’re going skydiving, don’t ever wear that outfit again.

Scotty: What can I say about Scotty beyond the fact that he’s a Country singer and he sings Country well? Not much. I suppose I could say that I’m not a fan of Country which will tell you all you need to know about my thoughts on Scotty. I’ll have more to say about him should he ever step outside his comfort zone and do something even mildly challenging.

Karen: So you tell us in your video intro that you want us to know you as more than the Spanish singer and then you go ahead and sing in Spanish. Okay, it’s your spotlight and you can do what you want with it, but don’t blame me when you find yourself at the bottom again tonight. I thought your thigh-high boots and beehive hairdo were more interesting and entertaining than your song and I’d rather hear your mother sing than hear you sing. Don’t squeeze Naima’s hand too tightly when you’re standing next to her tonight.

Casey: It’s difficult to believe Casey is so young. Everyone gets a bye week and this was Casey’s. My favorite singer of the season and I thought this was pretty much a bomb. Not the bomb, a bomb. I don’t know what songs were on the official list of choices, but I have to believe there was something better than “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Except for the guitar and drums intro, which are pretty good, that song sucked back when Nirvana released it. Great lyrics though – “Hello, hello, hello, hello, how low… Hello, hello, hello, hellow, how low…” Zzzzzzz….

Lauren: If she isn’t careful she’s going to give Pia a run for the money as my #1 female favorite. Normally, Lauren’s squirrely personality would get on my nerves, but she sings so well that I take her personality as part of the total package. The second best performance of the night behind James. Like J-Lo, I also like Melissa Etheride a lot and I wonder, if J-Lo knew that, would she find me sexy, too?!

Jacob: I like Jacob, but I’m getting really close to falling off the Jacob train. His vocals consist of way too much screaming for my taste and he’s beginning to remind me of a human klaxon horn. I’d like just one soft, subdued song from him. And I think, in the interest of fairness, if the judges are going to criticize the singers on pitch, then they should also criticize Jacob on pitch. And no, Randy’s doublespeak mumbo jumbo about modulation and going sharp and losing himself and finding himself and the final product doesn’t count. And is Steven making his comments from prepared notes?

Forget Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and Patti Labelle and Simply Red. Here’s the definitive version of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2011 2:42 pm

    I guess I’ll add my two cents to your comments about last night’s Idol performances:

    Naima: There’s something odd about her and I was disappointed that the judges picked her for a second chance. maybe her style is just not my cup of tea. I don;t think she’s main-stream enough to go far in any case and I agree with you that her voice doesn’t seem good enough to carry her far and that her personal style/eccentricities can only help her as long as it takes people to realize the lady needs a better voice to succeed.

    Paul: Both last week and this his on stage style of movement makes it look as if the guy is high or somehow under the influence of something – not quite sure what – and if he ISN’T then he should receive lessons on how to channel all that nervous energy into his vocal style and quit staggering all over the stage swinging his legs like a sailor who hasn’t found his land legs yet. His voice, gravelly like it is, is more suited to doing Rod Stewart or Joe Cocker covers in tributes than as an artist in his own right. I just haven’t warmed to him at all vocally or stage presence (or lack of it IMO).

    Thia: has a remarkable voice with clear tones and a haunting quality that reminds me a lot of Michael Jackson in certain songs. (Despite Michael’s shortcomings in regards to his personal life I will always admire him as an artist/songwriter/singer/dancer) I think it is always difficult for one so young who can’t possibly have found her personal vocal niche to present herself as a serious contender and potential professional when her age makes singing many songs seem inappropriate. I have serious reservations about Idol having lowered their entry age for this reason. I am not saying that those young people in this year’s talent pool are NOT gifted but I am saying that the decision to lower the age of eligibility is probably aimed more at making revenue from the younger people that are more likely to vote (and thereby fatten FOX coffers with text-votes). I hope Thia finds her groove because peoplsonally I’d still like to hear more from her.

    James: I think James is awesome with a powerful voice that reminds me of Adam Lambert who I am sure is someone that James himself admires a lot. James will do better than Adam though because Adam was perhaps too edgy for middle America and whereas Adam is gay (and therefore unacceptable by the Bible Belt down there) James is a young married father with a medical condition who has overcome the odds to succeed and everyone knows America loves an underdog. BUT, having said that, let’s not overlook the fact that, damn, that boy had some pipes! I would LOVE to hear him in a duet with Stephen Tyler and just the offer from him last night probably bought James a few votes to keep him in the competition long enough to see it happen!

    Haley: impressed the hell out of me last week with her vocal gymnastics in that country song even though I as a rule hate country music but this week I can’t for the life of me remember her performance at all (and I have already wiped the show off my DVR). She has a very low-key persona who doesn’t make you think she is in this to win it but could last a while longer since IMO there are a few worse contestants who I hope go before her.

    Stefano: reminds me of David Archuleta except whithout that anoying loud breathing between phrases problem that David had. Stefano is a cute/charming boy who wil no doubt get a few tweenage votes to help him along but I don;t think he has the chops to take it all the way.

    Pia is beautiful, has a good voice, but lasks something – I don”t know – Star Quality perhaps? Re the outfit last night – I loved it! Thought it beat the hell out of the get up that Naima or Karen wore.

    Scotty: seems like a nice, clean-cut kid that would be many parent’s wet dream of a role model for their kids. He has an interesting deep voice for one so young but his accent and song choices – strickly country to date – shows he is firmly headed down the country lane which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and although Carrie Underwood is a country star to have come up via Idol she could also play the crossover game for Idol and make herself appeal to those not enamoured of country music to make it through the Idol training grounds. I think Scotty’s appeal will be limited to those tweens who admire his looks and who also dig country music (and yes I am aware that use of the word “dig” dates me terribly, LOL).

    Karen: surpried me as well when she snuck in some Spanish last night after stating she didn’t want to be typecast as the token Spanish singer in the competition. Perhaps she was giving a nod to J-Lo or her own family/community, who knows. I don’t MIND the addition of the Spanish in her songs even though I don’t have a Spanish bone in my body. I enjoy listening to songs sung in Spanish ( I love Enrique Iglesius) and she should be herself above all and if that includes Spanish roots then embrace it I say and don’t worry about being typecast. There are enough Spanish-Americans around to vote for her when she sings in Spanish and enough people who aren’t who will still vote for her Spanish or not. Now, her outfit….that’s another matter entirely and looks as if she was channelling 1966 with the boots and the beehive hairdo. They didn;t do a thing for me.

    Casey is quirky, energetic, and TALENTED. He is a musician AND singer and in one so young comes across as much older than his chronological age – perhaps a side effect of growing up with older than average parents? The ONLY thing that I keep noticing in a negative way every time I see him is that unlike his fellow contestants, he has apparently opted NOT to whiten his teeth which look several shades yellower than normal unbleached teeth (too much coffee/tes/nicotine perhaps?) and in serious need of a little whitening at least – not necessarily the blinding white of an Arctic blizzard favoured by most public personas now but a little whitening would brighten his smile. I’m surprised his “handlers” have not urged him to do this already (unless his being ill has cut into his personal appearance time”.

    Lauren is as ripe as a Georgia Peach can get. She IS from Georgia isn’t she??? Anyway, cute and bubbly will get her noticed and hopefully her voice will carry her too. She has loads of personality and she reminds me of someone – I just can’t put my finger on who. That beaty mark above her lip is sexy too I think even though I am totally straight, LOL.

    Jacob: I personally don’t see what the judges see in him. True, he has a powerful instrument but his voice seems so forced and I don’t like it when he screeches. He’s also flamboyant in his dress style, underscoring his probably being gay which ultimately hurt Adam Lambert in the competition. It will be interesting to see if Jacob suffers the same fate. It’s a shame when things like this can impact a comntestant’s run at Idol since it’s SUPPOSED to be a singing competition but time and time again it’s been demonstrated that looks and style DO impact how well someone does sionce the whole package and NOT just voice is what people judge.

    My personal picks for bottom 3 are: Naima, Paul, and either Haley or Karen (it’s a toss-up for me)
    Those I definitely want to hang around are: Thia, James, and Casey
    The rest will probably make it through to sing next week and unless Thia James , or Casey are somehow in danger i can’t see the judges using the save just yet.

    I look forward to discussing Idol with you as the weeks progress. For the most part I think we agree re voices but differ widely in regard to their fashion statements, LOL 😉


  2. March 17, 2011 2:53 pm

    Oh – I forgot to add – GREAT Ricky Gervais version of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”! I keep forgetting that in the 80’s he was British Pop Music artist. Thanks for that!


  3. March 17, 2011 3:07 pm

    Like your synopsis of AI. I like Scotty, but agree he needs to sing something else…


  4. March 17, 2011 6:24 pm

    I agree with you on almost every singer except Jacob. I just don’t see what anyone sees in him. He has not excited me once to see him perform.


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