American Idol 2011 – 21st Century Week

If only a misprint on an internal memo had made it 21st Century Girls week. That would’ve been fun.

Scotty McCreery : So this week’s show-supplied source of lulz is “let’s have the contestants do impressions of each other”. Part of me feels it’s essentially redundant for reality shows to try this trick ever since Dean did a genuinely amazing Narinder impression on Big Brother 2 (literally the only interesting thing Dean did in the entire run of the show), but at least starting it out by having everyone do impressions of Scotty and his ridiculous way of holding the microphone got us off on the right foot. Haley’s impression in particular was gold-star worthy. Frankly, she could’ve not even bothered to turn up to perform this week, and she’d still have got my vote regardless. (Obviously since I am not a US citizen this is a fairly empty promise, but surely it’s the thought that counts.) Anyway, suffice to say that all of the above was far more entertaining than Scotty’s actual performance this week, which was Dullsville, North Carolina. Also: I’d never heard of this song before this evening, but a jot of research indicates that this song is in fact from 1983, and was merely covered by LeAnn Rimes in 2010. So when given an entire decade of songs to work with, Scotty decides that he’d still rather sing a track that’s older than he is. He’s basically Taylor Hicks at this point, and one of those was quite sufficient already. And I swear he was actually embellishing the stupid way he holds his microphone after watching that video. Ugh, it’s going to be so annoying when he wins. SCORE: 4/10

(I am the only person alive who apparently liked this. I thought it was PERVTACULAR. If he’s going to carry on doing country, better songs about wanking on his porch or whatever than the usual dull apple pie pablum he spews out. SCORE : 7/10)

James Durbin : OH MY GOD CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE OPENING NUMBER? ASHTHON DOING THAT GROSS BABY VOICE AND THIA BEING IRRELEVANT AND NAIMA BEING AMAZING BUT ALMOST FULL ON KILLING EVERY PERSON SHE WAS PERFORMING WITH USING HER FEET OF FLAMES, AND KAREN BEING WEIRDLY AGGRO WITH THE JUDGES, AND THE FACT THAT PIA WAS CLEARLY SUPPOSED TO BE HIGHLIGHTED AS PART OF THIS “SHE WUZZ ROBBED” NONSENSE BUT HER BEING CHAINED TO THE DEAD-WEIGHT THAT WAS PAUL PUTTING ON THE WORST PERFORMANCE EVER ON THE IDOL STAGE EVER LIKE EVER LIKE WORSE THAN SANJAYA OR THAT TIME FANTASIA CAME BACK DRESSED TO CHRISTMAS THEMED WRAPPING PAPER AND RAPPED AND SIMON’S EYES FELL OUT OF HIS EARS? AND THEN STEVEN SAID THAT AMERICA WAS GOING TO REGRET VOTING THESE LOSERS OFF? And…breathe. The whole of the rest of the show was kind of a come-down for me after that, only made more interesting by Scotty going Turbo-Paedo and the imaginary love-triangle waging between Haley, Stefano and Casey in my head. James did his best to top it by marching out at the head of his own drumline, ears lit up like Blackpool, and singing a song by Muse, like he hadn’t already attracted the negative attentions of enough over-invested fanbases. Incidentally this song is where Muse jumped the shark for me, so I’m glad that the little insight we were given into the geek-out e-mail conversations between James and Matt Bellamy bought the latter back a bit of likeability for me. The whole Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles meets Dungeons & Dragons vibe was fine, but the metal-screeches started to get to me a bit from about halfway through. It all balances out to a 7/10. Now I’m off to Youtube to watch Pia stare daggers at Paul again.

(It looked like a shit amateur production of Richard III, and didn’t sound much better. On a slightly unrelated note, the piss-take intro to this was the most adorable that Lauren has ever been. SCORE: 6/10)

Haley Reinhart : I like how Jacob is apparently over that whole “I don’t wanna be sexy in front of America” thing in time to make fun of Haley’s growling come-hither faces, because seriously…Now I feel slightly dirty. I do notice that Casey, Stefano, and Haley all studiously avoided appearing in one another’s “make fun of segments” except one or two brief appearances to be suggestive/sincerely insulting. I’m telling you, something’s going on there! Which is more than I can say about her segment with Jimmy FraggleFace, who is clearly resigned to working with her with no enthusiasm whatsoever for the next however long she has to stay in to prove to America that they’re not REALLY sexist. Just do some Adele Haley. Everyone loves Adele. *shrug*. It’s kind of sad that this was the performance of the night, and I’m probably over-rating significantly as a result, but I liked what she did with her voice. I prefer her Yodel gimmick to her “Tell Us About The Honey Mummy!” Growl gimmick, and the former was far more in evidence here than the latter. That said, she really needs to stop being allergic to having a Moment, because it could have happened with this performance but…she biffed a few notes and her performance was actively trying to avoid any slight possibility of epicness occurring. Like…mild pissed offness isn’t enough for an Adele song – the things are so bloody milquetoast you have to go as obvious with your styling as possible. SCORE : 8/10

(I pretty much agree with all the above. Performance of the night, but one point deducted for each of the following: some biffed notes, unusually reticent performance manner, and SINGING A FUCKING ADELE SONG. SCORE: 7/10)

Jacob Lusk : TONIGHT! JACOB LUSK TAKES ON THE IDOL HE’S ALWAYS COMPARED TO! Or not, as after that flagrant piece of false advertising, we were not treated to Jacob performing “Covergirl” by RuPaul, “Hope There’s Someone” by Anthony & The Johnsons, “It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls or “Walk Like A Man” by Divine. No, instead we were treated to Luther Vandross. Who says that Jacob reminds them of Luther Vandross? NOBODY, that’s who. Anyway, after everyone made fun of Jacob for being being Born This Way, he did “Dance With My Father” bringing this show’s run of Joe McElderry’s cover versions to two weeks in a row now. And dedicated to everyone with a dead father. And everyone who didn’t know where their father was. And everyone who really loved their father. And everyone whose father is a dentist. And everyone whose father gets really annoyed by those adverts. And Father Christmas. And Father Abraham who had the Smurfs. Basically Jacob Lusk dedicated the song to pretty much everyone, but capped it off with his own dead dad, just to make extra sure he wrang every last drip out of pathos out of the song choice possible. Or at least, conceptually, as he then stomped out on stage and utterly phoned it in. Maybe he was thrown off by whatever was going on with his ear-piece at the beginning, or maybe he suddenly found his taste gland, but Jacob Lusk this week went halfway to proper reality show pandering, then turned around and decided he wasn’t bothered, and this WILL NOT DO NO IT WON’T. Go big or go home Lusk. SCORE : 4/10

(Even Niki Evans thought this was overkill on the dead dad front. SCORE: 4/10)

Casey Abrams : It’s getting to the point where I feel this competition should be called How Do You Solve A Problem Like Casey? Because that’s what I’m struggling with. The show saved him at Top 11 (GRRR WHICH IS WHY PIA ISN’T STILL HERE STUPID DAMN JUDGES) and now the judges feel compelled to justify their decision by telling us what he’s doing is good when most of the time it kind of isn’t. Tonight in particular was a case in point, where I felt like we were going right back to the problem I had with Casey in Top 13 week – that it felt far more like an imitation of a good performance than anything that actually convinces as a real good performance. Rock (well, “rock” as done by Maroon 5) isn’t really in Casey’s wheelhouse, and even on an off night (like this one), James is still ten times the rocker Casey could ever hope to be, so I’m not really sure what he hopes to gain by trying. It just showed up a lot of his weaknesses: he couldn’t do anything with the incredibly monotonous melody that made up the first verse, so all I got out of it was monotony. As far as I could tell, he didn’t play that damn guitar that was dangling from his neck the whole way through the performance at all (I don’t know who he thought he was fooling by miming strumming along to it while MAKING GUITAR NOISES WITH HIS MOUTH), which is just the worst kind of artifice you can do on this show (LOOK I HAVE A GUITAR AND THEREFORE AM RELEVANT MERELY BY ASSOCIATION), and his attempt at working the stage was utterly embarrassing. And let’s not even discuss that impending restraining order filed by Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. SCORE: 3/10

(My problem is mostly with Maroon 5. I shall address my opinion to Adam Levine directly via letter. Meantime : SCORE 5/10)

Stefano Langone : I swear to God, if they show him wearing that douchebag fedora one more time, I am going to march over to America personally, whip the damn thing off his head and trample it into the ground. Seriously, Stefano, it is a WHITE FEDORA. It doesn’t even sound like a good thing, does it? Anyway, Stefano gets the patented “too damn heterosexual for this show” intro tape (the best part of which was Jacob saying “if he finds out it may potentially have oestrogen in it, he would flirt with a piece of paper”), which was sort of mildly amusing until it turned out to be a precursor to Stefano attempting an actual sexy performance. Except in going for “sexy”, he ended up at “twitchy”, almost Casey Abrams levels thereof. Speaking of Casey, he and Stefano need to get together and work out some kind of happy medium where working the stage is concerned, because Casey was underdoing it, and Stefano was seriously overdoing it. The whole performance was basically him thrusting his way around the stage, twitching out some sex faces and grabbing the hands of the audience, with occasionally a bit of singing thrown in as an afterthought. Most of the singing seemed to be done by the backing singers anyway, with Stefano just riffing over the top. As far as terrible song choices for vocal showcasing go, this was right up there with Jordan Dorsey’s semifinals performance of ‘OMG’, and I can’t help wondering if it’ll have the same outcome. SCORE: 4/10

(Is he still here? SCORE : 4/10)

Lauren Alaina : Well, I know for a fact that Chris will have been pleased by them showing that clip of her falling down the stairs again. That’s about his favourite thing that’s been broadcast on television all year. Personally, I was hoping for the intro video to feature all of the other contestants all staging falls down the stairs as part of their own Lauren tribute, but I guess none of them were committed enough. Losers. I found the song a bit of an anticlimactic way to end the evening – it wasn’t one I recognised, but I think Lauren could’ve made me overlook that if she’d done anything memorable with it, and she didn’t. Instead, she just looked a bit scared and uninvested in the whole thing, so I didn’t really end up feeling any kind of connection to the song or the performance. I don’t know whether that had anything to do with the fact that I felt this performance was over ridiculously quickly, or whether that was just entirely coincidental, but the song came and went at a great speed and left virtually no impression on me whatsoever. What a waste of a pimp slot – they should’ve given it to Haley. SCORE: 5/10

(Lauren falling down the stairs is the last time she seemed alive behind her eyes. I think it jolted something loose up in her brain. Still funny though. SCORE : 5/10)


One thought on “American Idol 2011 – 21st Century Week

  1. Tim

    Haley’s last few weeks have been a catalogue of not-quite-moments, haven’t they? Which is better, I suppose than what preceded it, which was a catalogue of not-quite-eliminated-moments. She was OK, but I bet she ends up (undeservedly) bottom 3 again.

    Jacob. Oh, Jacob. This restrained version is like Samson after a haircut. I loved the way he covered all his bases by dedicating his performance to everyone who’s ever had a father. Or something like that. Surely in danger this week?

    I’m off now to purge my ears of any lingering after-effects of that horrible opening group performance. Seriously, who thought it would be a good idea getting the six least popular finalists (excluding Casey) to harmonise to Pink?!? Next thing you know they’ll line them up for a Family Portrait. Raise Your Glass to that. These group songs are nothing but Trouble.

    I’ll get my coat …

    As ever, my thoughts are here:


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