American Idol 2011 – Elton John Week

Get down, Elton John. Stop licking my face.

Scotty McCreery : I think the nonsense that was the “makeover”(/excuse to make Casey shave that thing off his face) can best be summed up by the following sentence being said in association with Scotty McReery : “He’s got a natural elegance about him”. I mean, I’m by no means a professional photographer, but really?. OK. Anyway moving on… I know it’s very easy to portray country types as secretly megalomaniacal puppet-masters playing red state America through artificial Apple Pie-ness and good ol’ boy bonhomie. I found it kind of tiresome when Kentucky Fried Kristy got repeatedly poked for it just because she sang “God Bless The USA” in front of a giant video screen of the US Flag, a bald eagle and a gay-bashing ONE TIME. But still, wasn’t it kind of awesome/terrifying when he broke off mid-song to side-mouth out a message of love to his grandmaw? That’s worth a bonus point or two right there. I don’t know if I can really see him as Machiavellian when he appears to have gone to iTunes -> Elton John > Ctrl+ F -> “country” and just spewed out the results. Not really a genius chess-move there. And kind of amusing that someone who has until now been so steadfast in his “country realness” accidentally landed on a pastiche without really noticing it. And sounding a bit like a human theremin whilst doing it. Maybe that would be the “one trick” that Jimmy Fraggle-Face claimed that Scotty has, but given that he described it as “the greatest he’s ever seen”, I’m guessing someone can lick his own balls. COUNTRY-STYLE. SCORE : 5/10

(I still swear that no one on earth was aware of this song until it appeared on this show. SCORE: 4/10)

Naima Adedapo : Naima’s elimination this week has been brought to you by Casey Abrams and the Judges’ Save. Seriously, since we’re facing a double elimination this week, does anyone really expect Naima to somehow still be around next week? I don’t think even Naima does, hence her selection of ‘I’m Still Standing’ for this week’s song. It’ll make an amusingly ironic sing-out tomorrow night, if nothing else. Going for a reggae interpretation of the track was an interesting move, and one that I think was at least partly successful – it worked better than I expected, and I thought she sounded better than she has done for a while. However, it didn’t really have the general Naima energy (otherwise known as BOOM FIYAH) that I’m looking for in one of her performances, so I couldn’t help feeling at least a little bit underwhelmed, especially since this is one of the few Elton songs we’re getting tonight that’s normally fairly uptempo. And yet, despite my misgivings, I still quite liked it. So there. SCORE: 6/10

(She lost me when she claimed that nobody’s done a reggae version of an Elton John song before. KATE BUSH has even done one. Y’aint that original. SCORE : 3/10)

Paul McDonald : Seriously, Paul, stop trying to impress us with your hipster cred, because YOU ARE ON AMERICAN IDOL. SHEESH. He’s totally that really boring guy who thinks he’s exciting because he’s in a band, and corners you at a party and keeps talking at you about all the awesome thing his band does until you’re forced to fake some kind of seizure just to get away from him. Sure enough, he tried to achieve that on a nationwide scale tonight by telling us about how his band has already done a cover of ‘Rocket Man’ (I’d expect nothing less, quite frankly) and then putting on that wretched flower suit and blanding his way through it. For some reason he still insists on throwing feeble shit like “how y’all doing tonight?” to the crowd, which he really needs to STOP because it’s as annoying as hell. Having said all that, at least his performance this week was merely hipsterish and bland as opposed to being actively incompetent like he has been the past few weeks, so I suppose that’s progress of a sort. SCORE: 4/10

(I actually thought this was his best performance, although I got bored two-thirds of the way through, and every time I remember how much he’s supposed to have spent on that suit it makes my knees go wobbly. And not in the good way. SCORE – 5/10)

Pia Toscano : For a while now we’ve been urging Pia to display some kind of personality. Tonight, she finally did, because she responded to Randy Jackson’s request for her to stop singing ballads by basically going “screw you, Randy, it’s fucking Elton John week, what exactly do you want me to sing? Step Into Christmas?” So instead she pops her ballad blouse back on and delivers a supremely confident rendition of ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ (joint most-performed song in Idol history with ‘Against All Odds’, fact fans). At this point, we know enough about Pia to know that this song presents her with absolutely no challenge whatsoever, so the fact that she turned it out isn’t all that impressive, though in a night where the standard of performances was reasonably solid across the block, she still stands out as one of the better ones. Some minor gripes: what the hell was that karaoke-bar-in-the-back-of-a-Chinese-restaurant background that was behind her during the performance? And was the arrangement of the song actually slower than the original? Still, it’s all much of a muchness. Just please Pia, at some point do something up-tempo from a point after 1986. Thanks. SCORE: 8/10

(I’m giving her a pass for this, because it was GOOD, and what’s the alternative, Crocodile Rock? But she needs to effing sprint around during River Deep, Mountain High like she’s got a firework up her ass next week. SCORE : 8/10)

Stefano Langone : Bless Stefano, blipping around on his own, enthusiastically beeping like a chittering Furby about how excited he was about his makeover, to exactly nobody. I’m not sure what they actually DID to him, but he certainly seemed to like it. Personally if I were in charge of makeovers, he’d wear that beanie-hat 24/7 because in that, he’s actually kind of super-hot. Maybe hiding his hair is the key. I like that Jimmy Fraggle-Face decided that he was going to be a hard-ass with Stefano this week by making him sing his song TEN TIMES. Oh the horror. I know these kids are never going to get enough material together to do a whole concert together that isn’t 75% costume changes but I think they should probably be able to stand up to that level of TORTURE. Anywho, it’s a good job that he was suddenly hot to me on some level, because this was hands-down worst of the night by some distance. Performing in the manner of Wayne Brady on Whose Line Is It Anyway? doing an Hilarious Improv Song, dicking around with the rhythm and build of a song that it’s 95% rhythm and build to begin with, dicking out half the notes, and ending on a note of cringing awfulness that was so dickish and stupid that when Randy decided to try to be funny, he only came across as 2 or 3% MORE dickish and stupid. Oh dear. Oh yeah and WATCH FLASHMOB WITH HOWIE MANDEL! MOB! FLASHMOB! HAVE YOU HEARD OF FLASHMOBS? THEY DO THE THING! IN THE PUBLIC! WOO! HOWIE MANDELL! SCORE : 2/10

(Hold me closer, Tony Danza. SCORE: 4/10)

Lauren Alaina : My thing with “Candle In The Wind” (yeah we’re skipping over the makeover segment because “she ate the camera” is so much of a Lucy From Peanuts set-up for a field-goal that I’m ignoring it) is that I really like the Marilyn version, because it’s a tiny bit dumb, and it’s a sweet (probably inadvertent) tribute to the slightly sticky-fingered, grasping sincerity of teenage fandom without being bombastic, cloying, or overstated. Like the Diana version, which is AWFUL. This is a roundabout way of saying that I thought Lauren did really, really well with this performance (and it was easily her best so far) because she seems a bit…dim, in the nicest possible way. I have no clue how she thinks she identifies with this song (does she think she’s the candle in the wind? I kind of don’t want to know) and her acting like a drunk mess on stage (“I’M SO HAPPY BECAUSE JENNIFER LOPEZ IS AMAZING!”) (Hang on…is J-Lo Lauren’s Candle In The Wind?) is off-putting, and the outbreaks of nudge-nudge lust she provokes in Steven Tyler make me want to ram the fast-forward button on my Sky+ remote with my forehead but…when she works, she works. And this worked. SCORE : 9/10

(Although it didn’t work quite as much for me. SCORE: 7/10)

James Durbin : That wrestling thing will be both the making and the breaking of him won’t it? The making in that it encouraged the audience to forget all that “being rude about kids” stuff from Groups, and give allowances for his occasional arrogance by just viewing him as a giant exuberant kid, and also the breaking of him, because it encourages him to do things like enthuse about meeting “his Icons”…meaning Hulk Hogan. Psst…James…you’re supposed to be a musician. Sort it out. Although based on this performance, he appeared to think he was the warm-up man for the Dancing On Ice Live Tour. Seriously, when you come across as less gritty and rocky then Elton John you know you’ve got problems. Heck, he came across as less rocky and gritty than Katie Weasel when she did this song on X Factor. If we’re going back to wrestling as a metaphor, one really common spot in a match, when the wrestlers know the match is going south in terms of keeping the audience’s interest, is just to set something on fire. Just saying. Well sung, weak as a kitten performance SCORE : 6/10

(I think he really missed a trick by not mashing-up the chorus with ‘Friday’ by Rebecca Black. SCORE: 6/10]

Thia Megia : I loved that when Jimmy Fraggleface was going to great lengths to point out to Thia that this is basically the most poignant song in the history of the world or whatever, she was staring at him with a look of utter blankness that suggested she did not have a single clue what he was on about. Instead, she treated us to possibly the world’s most half-arsed sob story, which is that her brother moved away a long time ago and she really misses him, so she was going to think about that when she was performing. Strangely enough, it seems to have worked, because this was probably the most she’s connected with a song since the finals began, but of course since this is Thia Megia, this means she was still basically stood there rooted to the spot and waggling her arms around vaguely every now and then. But she’s a couple of steps closer to being a Real Live Girl, and that’s all very encouraging. SCORE: 6/10

(I quite liked it. It seemed a bit (*INTENSE RACISM ALERT*) Miss Saigon/Les Mis ish. Which actually is the most radical re-visioning of Elton we saw all night. SCORE : 7/10)

Casey Abrams : Further good work from Jimmy Fraggleface, as he basically told Casey that “everything” was wrong with his performance last week. You can just imagine Casey scribbing “everything” in his notepad and underlining it twice, and then going away to think about that. The biggest excitement this week was that Rodney Jerkins told Casey that his beard basically looks like an upended broom sticking out of his chin, and maybe at this point it’s time for a shave, so Casey trotted obediently off to the barbers. Except when the big reveal came, the beard had merely been thinned rather than removed, which I think was a bit of a fumbled opportunity: had Casey returned tonight with a completely naked chin, he might have had something interesting upon which to mount a comeback, rather than just telling us he’d lost a couple of ounces of hair and expecting us to be impressed. His version of ‘Your Song’ was an improvement on last week, in that there were only “some things” wrong with it rather than “everything”: he cracked on a few notes, and he still sounds kind of growly, and at one point he sounded like he was actually excreting something, but at least it was a definite improvement on last week’s terrifying mess. SCORE: 6/10

(I thought he was sweet enough but what can you really do with this song? He was all over the place, although mostly in a good way. SCORE : 6/10)

Jacob Lusk : He enjoyed doing the fashion shoot for Entertainment Weekly. *FACE OF TOTAL SURPRISE* He wins the award for the most meandering VT of the night, as it quickly veered from being about Jacob Lusk to being about the fact that Mary J Blige was “in the background” and then subsequently in the foreground. Amid all the Blige-related excitement, there was one key piece of advise from Fraggleface, which amounted to: “you’re singing ‘Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word’, so don’t overdo it.” And then Jacob went and did just that. It started out well, and he has a lovely, lovely voice, but when he got halfway through suddenly it was all cryface and melodrama, and you really can’t play this song quite so on-the-nose as that. SCORE: 5/10

(My problem is that the VOICE was restrained(ish) but the performance was just…off-putting and stupid. When he was doing the poo-squat with bloodshot teary eyes and yelling with no visible teeth…haunting. And not in the good way. SCORE : 3/10)

Haley Reinhart : Haley likes hardcore bangage on the piano. Nuff said. SCORE : 6/10

(None of this performance made any sense to me, and yet somehow I really enjoyed it. *shrugs* SCORE: 7/10)

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10 thoughts on “American Idol 2011 – Elton John Week

  1. Tim

    Thia really did look like she was either confused or bored with Jimmy I’s advice, didn’t she? And he might as well have just shouted in her face, “I’m NOT a fan!!!” Still, it’s hard to blame him.

    I thought this was the best week so far in terms of the overall standard, although I still don’t think we’ve had a genuine “moment” yet.

    As for the chop, perm any two from Thia, Naima, Paul and Stefano for me – I reckon it’s the two girls going.

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      Doesn’t Thia pretty much always look confused and bored though? She looked confused and bored by Debbie Blue, aka the Greatest Human Who Ever Lived.

      Reply
  2. Tim

    Either that, or she looks like she has just been sting by a particularly vicious bee who pointed out that she will always be less famous than Rebecca Black.

    I forgot to post a link to my review last night. Looks like we were largely on the same page overall, although I genuinely did think Haley was very, very good last night. (It must have been the effect of all the wine I drank last night …)

    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2011/04/01/american-idol-season-10-top-11-redux-performances/

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      I was very aware by the end that I’d perhaps been over-generous throughout, and if I watched it again, it may move up to a 7/8. Thought she started well but lost pace somewhere around the middle and it all became a bit parodic. Of course I demured from writing that in favour of making a smutty joke and withdrawing to a distance, as per.

      Reply
      1. Tim

        I would expect nothing less. If I hadn’t been falling asleep at the keyboard by the time I got to the end of my post, I suspect I may have done the same. πŸ™‚

  3. northernsoul54

    I’m so relieved someone else thought Stefano was terrible. He’s got a really pure voice tone but he chopped the phrases around so much, I find myself getting really irritated when he sings.
    Liked Lauren, Pia amazing voice but dull as shit, glad Casey is veering away from being a caricature of himself. Paul needs to be shot. Scotty creeps me out more every week, his mannerisms… Yeah shoot him as well actually. That’s all.

    Reply

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