American Idol 2013: Rock (No Ballads) Week

These theme weeks really are plumbing new depths of “no one cares any more”, aren’t they?

Burnell Taylor: Apparently we’ve hit the point in the season where the pre-performance VTs stop being about hangin’ in the rehearsal room with Jimmy Fraggleface and Smokey Robinson, and switch to trying to convince us that the remaining contestants are devastating forces of personality. In this particular instance, the contestants were invited to talk smack about each other, and reveal what really fascinated/annoyed them about their opponents. When given free rein on the subject of Burnell’s personality, the other contestants immediately pounced on his accent, with Angie saying that she frequently finds herself unable to understand anything he’s saying (racist bitch), and also adding that he has a big cackling laugh that sounds completely unlike anything human (so racist). While this was all very cute, eventually we had to get to the actual performance of ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’, and it became very clear that the world of Rock (No Ballads) is not one that suits Burnell at all. The arrangement he was given was pretty fun, but it completely drowned him out. Even the attempts to Style Him Rock (starring Henry Holland and Nicola Roberts) were rather ill-advised – you can’t match a leather jacket with a plaid shirt buttoned right up to the collar, you just can’t. I sort of enjoyed it, because he was clearly determined to have fun no matter how outmatched he was, but there really wasn’t a lot to say in its favour. SCORE: 5/10

(At least he didn’t make silly beep-boop noises all over it. SCORE : 4/10)

Kree Harrison: Kree’s VT revealed that she’s the Team Mom, which is unfortunate, because it’s not like Kree needs any more help to appear like she is in fact 40 years old. Seriously, someone needs to separate her from those sparkly blazers before they trigger a menopause. The other revelation from her VT is that Kree intimately knows everyone working on the show, except this had the effect of making her sound like either the town floozy or a Mafia don. I’m still not entirely sure which of those options I prefer. Anyway, this week Kree sang ‘Piece Of My Heart’, which seemed like a poor choice to me because her voice doesn’t really have that kind of whisky-and-cigarettes quality that you need to really sell this song, and as a result she sounded really flat and croaky on the low notes. It was fine, but it just didn’t go anywhere for me. SCORE: 6/10

(I found this actively unpleasant. Her country twang seemed out of control and tuneless and she still doesn’t know what she’s doing on stage and no amount of blaming the shoes will convince me otherwise, URBAN. SCORE : 3/10)

Janelle Arthur: I can’t decide if the “Contestants Roast” VTs did a bigger disservice to Candice, by making her look like the biggest bitch of the series, or to Janelle by letting all the other contestants lay into her. I guess it might get all the Southern States riled up having the other, more…sophisticated contestants, call her out for being fakey, melodramatic, insincere, vapid, banal, and one bit where it sounded suspiciously like Lazaro was implying she was a country prostitute, just hanging out in the cornfields, waiting for passing trade. Still, at least she has all of her own teeth, I guess. It didn’t seem to work in Janelle’s favour overall as, after two weeks of what was supposedly a Mini-Renaissance for Janelle, she found herself in the Bottom Two, after a bizarre kind of performance, where she sang Billy Joel sang as She-Ra’s Country Cousin. Fortunately for her, there are still SOME men left, so she was always going to be safe (who would bet against them using the Save on whatever poor female finds themselves “going home” next week?). And as if the contestants comments weren’t enough, we had the return of Carrie Underwear, trailing her very own “I aint never bin to new big city before gee gosh howdy I aint” clip dating from before her Idol fame to show Janelle how this sort of schtick is done right. Girl never stood a chance. SCORE : 3/10

(I was sort of on board with this until that last note. Eeeesh. SCORE : 4/10)

Lazaro Arbos: For the most part, I didn’t really have much to say about any of the group performances tonight, but Lazaro certainly managed to make an *ahem* impact in his. And when I say “impact”, we should all be very glad that this show doesn’t broadcast in 3D because HOLY SHIT HIS PACKAGE COULD’VE TAKEN YOUR EYE OUT. I don’t know where the hell that came from, and you’d better believe I don’t want to think about it, but whatever your stance, it was hard to ignore. Anyway, when it came to the other contestants picking up on his idiosyncrasies, it won’t surprise you to hear that they kept well clear of making any comments about his stutter and instead ragged on his love of pastel colours and how they make him look like a big dumb homo. Yay? It was ironic that they chose this particular week to point that out, since he actually came out on stage in a far more subdued outfit – sure, there was the blowtie and there were definitely some sparkly ruffles on his shirt, but it was very much dark blues and blacks and not a pastel in sight. Still, outfit analysis proved more interesting than his attempt on ‘We Are The Champions’ – to be fair to Lazaro, it’s a difficult song to pull off because it needs to be rousing and inspirational despite its slow tempo, and I think he struggled to get enough momentum into his performance to carry him through the chorus, which is probably the most sluggish part of the song. Sadly, listening to it turned out to be as much of a chore as performing it must have been. SCORE: 3/10

(Three times this week they made me sit through Lazaro’s attempts to be Freddie Mercury. THREE! What did I do to deserve this? SCORE : 3/10)

Candice Glover: And cue the diva rumours…now. Candice’s VT didn’t really do her many favours, since it was basically about how as the oldest (Kree’s not the oldest?), she likes to throw her weight around backstage and has managed to secure her own room. Also, she apparently really wants to hatefuck Burnell or something. They have a very complicated relationship that I don’t fully understand, but I just hope they managed to consummate it (or whatever) before he got sent home this week. Her song this week was ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ and it really did make her sound OLD. I think everyone was, to some degree, severely aged by their song tonight, but Candice was probably the most heavily affected by it. I still enjoyed her vocals, and I doubt she’s ever going to give an actual bad performance, but I don’t think this is one that anyone will spend much time revisiting in the future. SCORE: 7/10

(The only good thing about this whole stupid theme is Candice’s towering RAGE at the judges not putting her in their personal Top Threes and then America doing the same. She’s going to MURDER Burt Bacharach Week. SCORE : 5/10)

Amber Holcomb: Amber’s big thing is that she takes “selfies” apparently. Oh to be 17 again. Amber’s other thing is the show is using her as some sort of creepy Weird Science vessel to resurrect Whitney Houston and it’s starting to creep me out. When Randy told her that she “made it her own” by making it sound like Whitney Houston…I mean he did realise that even by his usual standards that made absolutely no sense? I guess not. The show’s quest to turn Amber into Whitney Houston naturally hit a speed-bump this week with “Rock (No Ballads) Week”, given that there’s very few artists of the 20th century with less of a natural rock crossover point than Whitney Houstin, but it’s alright, because Amber PLUNGED right in at the femmiest end of Tampon Rock by singing Heart, and not just Heart, but “WHAT ABOUT LOVE”. I felt like she was at most 3 seconds away from skydiving in skin-tight white jeans at any given time. Vocally it was fine, but it felt like she got utterly lost in the production and the spectacle. Hey, at least she’s pretty. SCORE : 5/10

(She was dreadful. You don’t fuck with Heart on this show, you just DON’T. SCORE : 3/10)

Angie Miller: At least Angie landed on her feet in this most dismal of weeks, given that she got to mine the vein of Christian Rock she worked so hard way back in the Semi-Finals. I guess Evanescence count as “Classic Rock” now, and even if they don’t, performing their songs in the style of Christine from Phantom probably makes them so. Her performance was made particularly godly by her attentions mostly being taken up by preventing her boobs from appearing from underneath her billowing shirt. Because sometimes a Wind Machine is a BAD THING. Her Contestant Roast was pretty mild – “she claps a lot and has melodramatic eye-pops” is fairly small beer compared to “Candice broke her foot whilst trying to convince Lazaro that the house was on fire and also likes to beat up Burnell”. All in all, she probably comes out best from this awful broken week, which I think just about says it all for “Classic Rock (No Ballads) Week”. SCORE : 6/10

(I never saw Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, but I like to think it was at least a little bit like this. SCORE : 7/10)


4 thoughts on “American Idol 2013: Rock (No Ballads) Week

  1. Tim

    I rather liked Angie’s performance – one of the few good song choices of the night. Queen? Heart? Someone convinced Lazaro and Amber those were good ideas, REALLY?!? I particularly laughed at Amber’s choice: “Well, I heard it on a commercial …” Next week: Amber warbles to the Shake & Vac jingle?

    I’m beginning to think that the producers are on a dare to slip in one “they wouldn’t, would they?” track into the allowed list for each week, just to see if Lazaro will pick it. This week – tick.

    Incindetally, on what planet are Piece of My Heart and What About Love NOT ballads?!?

    1. monkseal Post author

      The same on which Evanescence song with several rap-breaks in is “Classic Rock” I’m guessing.

  2. Ferny

    I would like Angie, Candice and Amber in the Final personally even though I like Kree. The boys have really been non-existent this year haven’t they??

    Lazaro I just don’t understand, he has forgotten his words a few times now and the judges just seem to skim over that – is it because they feel sorry for him or because he’s getting plenty of votes so they’re not bothering to try and boot him out? I don’t get it.


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