American Idol 2012 – Songs From The Year You Were Born Week

/Songs That Were Covered In The Year You Were Born Week.

Phillip Phillips: Hang on, his dad’s name is Phillip Phillips as well? What is wrong with these people? I feel that Phillip Jr’s childhood backstory was rather nicely played, since his parents talked a lot about how he was a very sickly child, and we cut straight from that into the present day, where he has kidney stones and is going into surgery. And it would be beneath me to say that kidney stones were the reason he’s sounded so odd over the past few weeks, but I can’t deny that his first post-surgery performance was a vast improvement. I could understand all the words and everything. It felt more tuneful and more like a coherent performance in general, although, to be honest, it still wasn’t desperately original or anything I’d be in a massive frenzy to listen to outside the context of this show. SCORE: 5/10

(If they hadn’t told us that he’d had to go to get surgery, I would have thought he just fell asleep on stage after last week’s performance. SCORE : 5/10)

Jessica Sanchez: Aw, she was a cute baby. Although the thing is, a lot of these contestants were adorable little rugrats, so I think it might be more convenient for everyone if you just assume they were a cute baby unless I specifically say otherwise. Anyway, Jessica decided to perform ‘Turn The Beat Around’, because she was born in the year that the makers of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! drove a truckload of money up to Megan Mullally’s house. Perhaps sensibly, she stuck with the original lyrics rather than singing about a lack of hydrogenated oils and transfats (that wouldn’t have gone down well in the dairy states). I actually have a bit of a soft spot for this song, and this was the best version of it that’s ever been done on this show (not that that’s saying much), but it’s just not a song that really showcases a live vocal terribly well because it’s too patter-y. Having said that, this was the most I’ve enjoyed Jessica all season, and I did like the “y’all ready?” in the breakdown. I especially enjoyed the way she touched her ear every time she sang the word “hear”, which made me feel like I was watching Dancing On Ice. SCORE: 8/10

(She hit everything far too hard. It’s about a driving percussive rhythm, not a honk. SCORE : 6/10)

Heejun Han: For what I wrote above about contestants who were cute babies, you’d better add in a whole sub-clause about contestants whose parents are kind of adorbs, because that happened quite a lot as well. As far as Heejun’s concerned, focusing on his childhood and his parents is probably the best way to go about things, since his performance of ‘Right Here Waiting’ was all wheezy and generally not very good. When the most positive things being said about your performance is that people like your outfit – and when this happens when you’re dressed like you’re going to your junior prom – you know you’re in trouble. SCORE: 4/10

(So wheezy : 3/10)

Elise Testone: I’m not going to lie, this show has so thoroughly succeeded in its attempts to portray Elise Testone as a throwback old lady that I half expected the shots of her childhood to show her wearing frilly petticoats and taken on a Box Brownie. I did love how frantic her mother was to try and portray Elise accurately but also in a way that America would find appealing. So Elise was always getting into trouble as a child, but rest assured, that trouble was adorable and not, say, giving a fake name to the police or anything HEINOUS like that. Anyway, Elise was one of a long train of people to hurl themselves under the wheels of a peerless singer, do an adequate job, and get moderate praise as a result. I mean, no offence to Elise, because she’s got one of the more(/only) interesting female voices this year, but she’s no Al Green, and repeating that whole “good, bad, happy or sad” part three times and not doing anything interesting with it on any of them is plum unforgivable. The upshot of this being Elise being in the Bottom 3 again, and pulling a sourpuss face over it again, and the judges giving Full Notice that she will probably be this series’ recipient of the Pointless Save, whenever that’s supposed to happen. And lather, rinse, repeat for some weeks to come I’m sure. SCORE : 7/10

(I have nothing to say about Elise, which regrettably I feel serves as comment in itself. SCORE: 6/10)

Deandre Brackensick: Somehow I get the feeling that Deandre’s mother is the sort of mum who will, within seconds of him bringing his first girl(/boy)friend home, will have dragged out the photo albums and point straight to the one of him aged two, naked and sitting on a vacuum cleaner. Because telling the whole of America that he memorised ALL OF THE DANCE ROUTINES to ’76 Trombones’ is basically the never-nude version of that. Still, if the Idol thing doesn’t work out for him, he can always form some sort of performance troupe with Danielle Hope. Deandre was one of the few contestants to actually bite when Fraggleface and William suggested a song switch (with William offering particularly helpful advice in the form of “If you like a carpenter, you can’t go in there with no tennis racquet.” I hope to God he makes more sense than that on The Voice next week, although at least then he’ll have the advantage of sitting next to human splutterbucket Jessie J, who has never made sense once in her entire life), which ended up with him singing ‘Endless Love’, which was fine, but kind of lacked the lovely duettyness that we’ve come to expect from this song – which is arguably not Deandre’s fault in and of itself, but something he probably should’ve considered in the wider context of the performance. SCORE: 6/10

(The first half was fine, the second half was a mess and he needs to stop biting off the ends of lines because he can’t control his breathing. SCORE : 4/10

Shannon Magrane: Part of me wonders if it was a bussing making the segment about Shannon almost entirely about her father, but then again they’ve been more or less doing that all season and they have to have liked her at some point right? Somebody seriously should have talked her out of trying to choose between the tuneless Scylla of “Don’t Speak” and the tedious Charybdis of “One Sweet Day”. I know any songs about singing to dead people play well with Shannon’s presumed fundie base, but mashing your keypad with your dialling wand still takes effort that’s not available to people in comas. At least she went out in classy fashion, seeming genuinely pleased for everyone who got to on tour and twiddling her microphone around merrily. Ah well, back to that massive McMansion and a life of never-ending luxury it is. Poor Shannon Migraines. SCORE : 4/10

(I don’t quite understand the logic of a brain that thinks Mariah Carey is a good idea the week after Whitney Houston roundly defeated you, but I guess that’s all part of the wonder that is Shannon Migraine. Chris is right, though, that was a well-handled exit. SCORE: 4/10)

Colton Dixon: I love that he won “Baby Of The Week” at the hospital he was born at. Truly is a human Cheese Of The Month. (Although, consider the fact that in America apparently the race for beauty-pageant prizes begins as soon as you love the womb. I bet Schyler Dixon didn’t win Baby Of The Week. I bet she didn’t even win Baby Of The Day. I bet she’s still PISSED). It was nice to see Colton’s strong roots this week, with his dad saying that he didn’t mind what Colton did, so long as he put 100% into it (except sodomy). For his song this week, Colton chose a song that nobody’s heard of by a band that nobody remembers, which I guess is a nice change from “overplayed cover of an overplayed original”. I think the whole thing actually came together very nicely, in that in felt like an above-average Eurovision entry. And by this show’s standards, that’s positively epic. Of course, Steven hated it, because Steven’s apparently suddenly decided he has to represent for Authentic Rock or something. I’m sure that will be fun if he decides to carry on doing it. SCORE : 8/10

(Apparently this was actually ‘Songs That You Just Made-Up Right This Second’ week. SCORE: 5/10)

Erika van Pelt: Erika van Pelt was born with music inside her. LOUD MUSIC. Sadly she appears not to have been born with “Heaven” by Bryan Adams inside her, or at least not anywhere that she had easy access to, given the bizarre, stuttering, stilted, over-earnest version of it that we were subjected to. I mean, I can give her credit for trying to give us something different from the same old same old, either in terms of this show or in terms of her voice, but it really could have been a lot more pleasant to listen to, and watch, what with that giant literal STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN behind her. Still, she was dressed more prettily than she ever has been before, and in this post-Paula age for Idol, I feel it behooves someone to point it out. SCORE : 5/10

(I would dearly like to know why she was performing in front of the entrance to the final boss room from Super Mario 64. SCORE: 5/10)

Skylar Laine: So, remember earlier when I said to assume they were all cute babies unless I indicate otherwise? Well: OTHERWISE. Apparently Schylar was kind of bald and bloodied and bruised as a baby. Think Phil Mitchell, but smaller and female. I wasn’t overly familiar with her song choice (‘Love Sneakin’ Up On You’ by Bonnie Raitt) but I really enjoyed the ’80s production values the show gave it, despite it apparently being released in 1994. Perhaps Mississippi is a bit like Canada, in that it got the ’80s a few years later than everyone else. The judges were kind of right in pointing out that it’s a song without a whole lot of journey to it, but once again Skylar’s natural ebullience and presence covered a multitude of sins. She might want a back-up plan for when this strategy eventually runs out of steam, mind. SCORE: 6/10

(I would say “it hasn’t?” but…this was fine. SCORE : 7/10)

Joshua Ledet: Joshua used to go to church with his mother a lot, but was not allowed to sing there because he was “a rascal”. Hopefully not quite the same sort of rascal that Jermaine Jones is – this show really doesn’t need to lose two male finalists due to inept contestant screening. Especially not someone who just had A Moment like Joshua did with his highly dramatic performance of ‘When A Man Loves A Woman’ – he was singing from the tips of his fingers through to the soles of his feet and everywhere in between. I think he may have been one of the few people tonight up to the task of taking on the original artist – though given the whole “year of birth” thing, his original artist was technically Michael Bolton anyway. SCORE: 8/10

(TAKING IT TO CHURCH! Score : 9/10)

Hollie Cavanagh: LIVERPUDLIAN INVASION! Really this week was all about Hollie’s adorable family flooding the show, confirming to America exactly where she was from, randomly cracking themselves up, randomly making themselves cry with pride, and randomly pulling hilarious “so-so” hand gestures after Hollie succesfully belted her way through another power ballad. In this case she plonked herself firmly in Jennifer Rush/Celine Dion territory by yelling her way through “The Power Of Love”. It wasn’t quite as strong as it was last week, and that last note was…biffed, a little, but she has at least consolidated her position as the Queen of Balladry after Jessica’s arguable mis-hit by diverting into Latin Pop. Now she just has to plan her own move into up-tempo with a little more care, and her position as Top Girl will be all but set. SCORE : 7/10

(I love this song. *shameface* SCORE: 9/10)


2 thoughts on “American Idol 2012 – Songs From The Year You Were Born Week

  1. Tim

    Personally, I rather liked Diana DeGarmo’s version of Turn The Beat Around, one of those disco-era songs I have a strange hankering for. (Nothing holds a candle to the Laura Branigan cover, though.)

    Erika’s version of Heaven … did … my head … in. It sounded like the vocal equivalent of an epileptic … fit with her … random pauses.

    I truly despise this theme when it comes up (almost) every season. I spend the entire show shouting at the screen: “But the Bolton/Dion/Estefan version of this is SHIT! Kids, go listen to the original. Music DID actually exist before 1980-whatever!!!”

    Joshua was rather good, though, a week after I’d slagged him off as a no-hoper. How inconsiderate of him. Hollie to win, please.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I don’t think Joshua’s got a hope in hell of winning (I doubt he’ll even get as far as Jacob Lusk did) but I’m going to enjoy him while he’s still around. Every year now I think the anti-WGWG vote is going to coalesce and stop the “Obvious Winner” and every year I’m wrong, so I’m just going to resign myself to P-Squared winning and have done with it.


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