American Idol 2013 – Lennon & McCartney Week

I feel I should mention that Steve doesn’t really rate The Beatles. Before we start. Just so you know.

Kree Harrison: Yeah, any sort of Beatles theme week is a bit of a slog for me. I tried to like them for the longest time, I really did, but…it’s just not for me, okay? Anyway, Kree Harrison. You’ll have to forgive me if I’m covering up old ground here, but I did spent pretty much the entirety of the pre-live shows fast asleep/playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook, so it came as a bit of a surprise to me to discover that Kree is an orphan. She seems pretty well-adjusted about it, and seems to have other awesome family members to rely on (including a sister called Laci Bruce, who should probably think about auditioning herself with a name like that). Kree’s dad, we are told, loved the Beatles, so this performance was for him, and thankfully the show managed to steer well clear of all the horrific X Factory style “YOUR FATHER WHO IS DEAD WOULD BE SO PROUD OF YOU!” responses to this and instead basically went “well, good for you”, which made that side of the story significantly more palatable. Kree sang ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’, and got Beatles night off to a fine start by…singing the Joe Cocker arrangement. Personally I think that’s overplayed by now; she should totally have gone for the Wet Wet Wet one. Vocally, it was fine, but I found myself fundamentally unmoved by it which, given the emotional intensity they put into the set-up, was rather disappointing. SCORE: 6/10

(Nobody should sing the Wet Wet Wet anything : SCORE : 6/10)

Burnell Taylor : Every time they do a “Beatles Week”, or a “Lennon & McCartney Week” or a “Ringo Week” (one day Idol, one day) they have to drag out a couple of African-American contestants who aren’t really familiar with every corner of The Beatles discography. Never mind that The Beatles are from 50 YEARS AGO now. It’s a bit like cracking on the contestants of Pop Idol for not knowing who Perry Como is. Anyway, this year’s most prominent victim was Burnell Taylor, who was not familiar with “Let It Be”. I can’t really summon up any emotion at this other than “jealousy” given that “Let It Be” is by far the worst of The Beatles songs unless you count “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” which surely no sane person does. As performance of “Let It Be” go it was a performance of “Let It Be”. Fake video candles, backing choir, earnest emoting, the works. His tone got a little whiny at point, but otherwise it was a decent enough trot through a song I don’t really care for at all. Afterwards Mariah says that he treated the song like a new-born baby which rather brings to mind an image of him slapping it around the arse, which…it’s “Let It Be”(/”Letter B”/”Litter Beep”/Lettuce Pee) I would not object to. I did enjoy his heartwarming tale from home of his prettiest sister pimping him out though. SCORE : 5/10. Incidentally I have now given Burnell 5/10 for three performance in a row, which really says it all I think.


Amber Holcomb : Amber Holcomb’s dad was probably my favourite of all the many relatives we met this week (not counting Devin Valez’s mother, obviously, because we heard her piercing shriek for the very first time many weeks ago). All he does is drone and father children. What a life. Amber comes from a town of only 2,326 people in Texas, all of whom she is related to. Happily, as the prettiest, and the only one to own shoes, she has been allowed to escape and attempt to make a life for herself as a singer of songs on the tv. Although, having grown up in the Holcomb Compound, she was yet another contestant unfamiliar with The Beatles. At least she had the excuse of the fact that she was singing “She’s Leaving Home” (my favourite song from Sgt Pepper’s, MONKSEAL FACT FANS) which isn’t exactly “All You Need Is Love” (thank fuck). I quite liked her version vocally, although I have to agree with Nicki Minaj that it was quite clear that she didn’t have a bloody clue what she was singing about. Also that her lipstick choices were ill-advised. I mean…it’s no wonder she ended up in the Bottom 2. Aint nothing America judges harder than coral lipstick. Maybe if they’d seen the adorable sight of her slowly drowning beneath a fog of dry ice, things might well have been different. SCORE : 7/10

(Her whole performance felt like it was being beamed live from the 1970s, and as such I didn’t really “get” it? But yeah, the outtakes of her choking in the smog were adorbs. SCORE : 5/10)

Lazaro Arbos : If only America had judged Lazaro Arbos’ fashion choices quite so harshly. A CUSTARD YELLOW suit with CHERRY RED shoes? Please. You can tell Paul Jolley was having to bite his tongue over that one. And yet it wasn’t the worst thing Lazaro did this week, as he decided that he wanted to do a radical re-arrangement of “In My Life”, making it sound like a 1960s advert for a Latino mattress warehouse. Needless to say THIS DID NOT WORK, as he got cussed out by the judges for being out of tune and aimless throughout, then Jimmy IV Unit huffed all over the Results Show that the judges had been TOO NICE to everybody. By which he presumably meant “too nice to Lazaro”, as he proceded to tongue-bathe everyone else himself, then pile in on Lazaro himself. Then Lazaro huffed all over twitter that people had NO RIGHT TO JUDGE HIM and made up what turned out to be a lit about having been forced to change song at the last minute, and then America kept him out of the Bottom 3 anyway because…I don’t know, REASONS. For me? I think there was one nice phrase in there, and I know Steve is on an ANTI-BEATLES TEAR, so I’ll be generous. SCORE : 2/10

(I will also be generous and just forget this performance ever happened. SCORE : 1/10)

Candice Glover : So let’s get to my favourite part of Candice Glover’s performance this week, which was the bit right at the very end where Ryan Seacrest claimed to be 5ft 8. A HA HA HA HA HA AHA. HA. HA HA HA. HA. ALRIGHT RYAN. Anyway, Candice Glover pimped out her tiny island home some more, and I’ve checked and more people live there than live in Holcombtown, so she probably needs to get over that. Candice Glover incidentally is yet another black contestant who doesn’t really know The Beatles. It’s alright, next week is Motown Week, so we get to be racially uncomfortable in a WHOLE OTHER DIRECTION, as Angie tries to sound like Etta James or some such. This time out Candice indulged her inner rock Goddess, and her outer leather fetishist as she stomped around to “Come Together”, wearing a face that alternately utterly baffled by the lyrics and just plain PISSED OFF, which apparently alienated Nicki Minaj, who would apparently like a smilier version of “Come Together”. Maybe she could contact Olly Murs? For me, at this point, Candice Glover is so much better than everyone else in the competition that they might as well just cut to her getting Mindy Doo’d out in 3rd already. SCORE : 9/10

(My favourite part was Randy saying “the voice is crazy!” Well, there go his chances of getting hired as Adam Levine’s holiday cover. SCORE : 7/10)

Paul Jolley: Between Amber and Candice and now Paul (and also Lazaro last week, now I think about it), this is really turning into Person From A Small Town Idol, isn’t it? Anyway, Paul Jolley spoke fondly of growing up on a farm in the middle of nowhere in Tennessee, in that he made it sound far more fun than I’d expect it might be for someone as…polite as he is. This turned out to be Paul Jolley’s last week with us, meaning that he will now almost definitely never get to realise his dream of being the male Keith Urban. SADFACE. Aside from all the usual reasons that we’ve been predicting his ouster for several weeks, I can only assume that the footage of him being super-fussy in rehearsals probably didn’t help his cause much, and neither did his very confused rendition of ‘Eleanor Rigby’, which he decided to play as a number from the musical episode of Law And Order: SVU, in which Paul Jolley is playing the Suspected Sex Offender Of The Week. It was all a bit strange, and the notes were not there for the most part, and he’s really not someone who should attempt to glower his way through an entire performance because it just doesn’t suit his face. Still, on the bright side, I thought it was adorable the way he cracked himself up by telling Nicki that he was feeling “Jolley”, and also that he didn’t care that he’d been eliminated because “I’VE GOT MY OWN DAY, I THINK I’M PRETTY GREAT, OKAY?” I’m kind of hoping that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Paul Jolley, and he’ll turn up again on season seven of RuPaul’s Drag Race as his alter-ego Lucille Ballgag. SCORE: 4/10

(LOL at him saying you can’t do a country twist on a Beatles song. KRISTY LEE COOK WOULD BEG TO DIFFER PAUL. SCORE : 3/10)

Angie Miller: So it’s official: Angie Miller is this year’s official contestant with attractive family members. Her brother’s hot in an annoying hipster sort of way, anyway, and don’t worry, I already very much hate myself for noticing that. Also, I feel like I understand Angie’s psyche a little bit more since her mother decided that the best thing to do in a pre-taped video package celebrating your daughter’s advancement to the live stages of a national singing contest is to get out the family photo albums and yell “OMG LOLZ LOOK AT WHAT A FATTIE SHE USED TO BE!” Poor Angie. Is it any wonder she opted to handle her pain by performing ‘Yesterday’ in the most hilariously stagey way possible, looking for all the world like she was a contestant on a BBC1 talent search involving Andrew Lloyd Webber. And I’m talking the Lauren Samuels end of the scale here: you could see those twitches from three streets over with the curtains drawn. And yet strangely I sort of liked it? It was such a massive attention-whore of a performance that I found it completely endearing. My brain is a mystery even to me sometimes. SCORE: 7/10

(There’s a reason I will never see the Les Mis movie, and I believe this performance captured it perfectly. SCORE : 5/10)

Devin Valez : Unlike everybody in this competition, Devin Valez is from a BIG CITY and he is very keen for us all to know that fact. He is from CHICAGO and also going to military school which…is an odd image, but this is the 21st century, so ok. This week Devin sang “The Long And Winding Road” in an effort to make America love him enough to elevate him out of the Bottom 3, but apparently it just wasn’t enough. I am a little sad that, after last week’s orgy of stats we got a fairly bog-standard bottom 3. I WANT TO KNOW HOW MANY VOTES BURNELL TAYLOR GOT FROM MINNESOTA IDOL! YOU CAN’T GIVE ME A TASTE OF STATTY GLORY AND THEN PULL IT AWAY AGAIN! I NEED IT! Devin’s performance was undoubtedly a pretty superior piece of work, especially amongst this batch of male contestants, but he was sadly overshadowed by one of the judges shouting “PENIS!” just because they felt like it, then giggling for the next 30 seconds. This never would have happened under Simon Cowell. More’s the pity. SCORE : 8/10

(I hate this song even more than ‘Let It Be’ and lost the ability to be objective about it a long time ago. Sorry Devin. SCORE : 2/10)

Arthur Janelle: Well, after that terrifying jaunt into the big city with Devin Velez, rest assured that with Janelle we are back to Nowheresville, USA, where the tumbleweeds come along more frequently than the buses and there’s that one old guy out on the boundaries and nobody knows what his name is but he sits out on the porch all day looking into the distance like he’s waiting for someone to come home. Anyway, Janelle Arthur: she sang ‘I Will’, which is not a song I’m all that familiar with so I can’t really offer much of an opinion on the originality of her arrangement, but it seemed functional enough to me, although I can’t say I’ve got any great desire to ever listen to it ever again. And something about Janelle herself just seems awfully contrived. She makes Kellie Pickler look like Constantin Stanislavski. But it’s fun when Nicki Minaj horrifies the red states by gay-marrying her every week, so I guess she can stick around for a bit. SCORE: 6/10

(Eh. SCORE : 5/10)


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