Thursday, February 26, 2009

AI Season 8: Group B performs

I'm going to say it. I hate the new format for American Idol. It's excruciating. We have seen more crappy performances in the last week than the whole last season combined. A Top 36 is not a good idea. How much chaff do we have to have with our wheat? Far, far too much as it turns out. Add into it another judge who sucks up additional airtime and we have a recipe for a show I am not enjoying very much this season. I can only hope that by the time we make it to the Top 12 I am back on board. I do have AI pools I need to participate in and I'd like to win which means I need to be more invested. But with performances like we saw last night, it's going to be hard.

I also dislike that we don't get to know the contestants gradually. Instead of seeing them over a period of weeks we get one week on, 3 weeks off until the Top 12. Groups A and B will be at a disadvantage because America, she is fickle, and will quickly forget them.

The counter argument is that good singers have a better chance of making the Top 12 this time around. No more Sanjaya fiascoes, supposedly. I'm not so sure that can't happen. Perhaps I should just be happy they aren't putting us through Idol Gives Back this year?

What are the rest of you thinking now that we are 2 weeks into the new format? Do I need to just suck it up because this format is around to stay or will AI producers come to their senses and retrench next season?

Ryan is looking thinner than usual in his black polo shirt. He introduces Randy in a cardigan I’m sure I’ve seen before, followed by Kara, Paula and Simon in a tight t-shirt. Is Simon showing Ryan how it’s done? He is looking pretty fly in that tight shirt...The judges give their usual inane advice to kick off the show. Ryan reminds us of the absurdly complicated way of building the Top 12 and introduces this week’s contestants.

Jasmine Murray is 17 and I don’t really remember her from the auditions. Per usual we see clips from Hollywood Week. She sings “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles and I really like the choice; very contemporary. Jasmine sounds very shaky and too low for the song as she starts it. She does get a bit better with the chorus but I’m not impressed. Randy calls it pitchy and Kara tells Jasmine she is commercial but it wasn't her best performance. Paula agrees with Kara (she's doing that a lot this season) and Simon was disappointed because Jasmine has everything but the voice. Simon thinks the song choice wasn’t very good and she could be better in the future. Jasmine takes the criticism well and claims she had a great time. She will not be coming back...

Up next is the dueling piano player, Matt Giraud (24). He's pretty boring looking so he'll have to really bring it tonight to get votes. We see a clip of his great "Georgia" performance from the solo Hollywood auditions. Unfortunately he decides to pick "Viva La Vida" by Cold Play for his first live performance. He not so wisely also chooses to go with a vibrato in his voice and it results in a bad comparison to Chris Martin. Matt is all over the place pitch-wise and kind of sucks. I hope he also had fun because he's going home. The producers have decided to rotate the opening criticism amongst the judges so Kara starts things said she wasn’t blown away. Paula said he picked a risky song and it didn’t pay off. Simon said it was verging on a horrible performance. Randy agreed with Simon but said he was still pulling for Matt.

Jeanine Vailes, 28, a bartender is up and has the unfortunate occurrence of not being featured at all during auditions. She must have a really terrible personality. Jeanine goes with the standby, "This Love" by Maroon 5. I’ve seen better in a karaoke bar. We are now 3 contestants in and I am extremely disappointed. Paula compliments her legs which all the judges agree with. Too bad it's not Next Top Legs. Simon said it was terrible and a bad song selection. Randy said that the end was the best because it meant it was over. Kara said the song was overdone. Also done? Jeanine.

Nick/Norman is up next and I’m looking forward to alleviating my boredom from the last 40 minutes of drivel. No matter what you think about him, he is entertaining. He picks the Jennifer Hudson song “And I Am Telling You” from Dream Girls. Because he fears rejection he comes out as Norman, not Nick. There is a flash on his parents and his dad looked very unhappy. He makes up for it by appearing to be really proud of his son at the end of the song but I call BS on that. How proud must a dad be to see his gay son hamming it up via an alter ego on the biggest stage in America? Norman totally plays to the crowd and they are eating it up. Crawling through the crown Norman spots Neil Patrick Harris and incorporates Doogie into the lyrics. In fact he changes a bunch of the lyrics to reflect his current AI experience. Anyone know why NPH is so invested in AI this season? Second week in a row that he's been there.

Norman can actually sing which makes this performance kind of sad for me. I'd love to see him as Nick but we haven't had that opportunity. Simon can’t do anything other than laugh and he hopes Norman won’t make it through to the next round. Randy called it entertaining albeit a little lacking in pitch. Kara said it was memorable and Paula called him a true performer. Will he make it? At this point, I kind of want him to just because everyone else has sucked out my will to live.

Ryan is a tiny little thing, isn’t he?

Allison Iraheta is 17 and she is another contestant we haven't seen through the auditions or Hollywood Week. Unlike Jeanine she doesn't whine about it. Probably because she's actually good. Allison has really vivid pink hair and seems stoned when talking with Ryan before her performance. I will put it down to nerves. Let's hope we don't have another Jason Castro on our hands. She chooses "Alone" by Heart and based on her raspy voice it could be a great song choice. She isn’t as good as Amanda Overmeyer when she sang the song but she’s still pretty good. It’s back to Randy to start things off and he thinks she “blew it out the box.” Is Randy the biggest poseur of a black man or is it just me? Kara calls her serious and great. Her performance must be better in person or just fatigue from bad performances but I didn’t think it was that good. Paula said she could sing the telephone book and was the best so far. Not with the telephone book again! That got really old with David Archuleta last season. Simon agreed that she was the best so far by a clear mile (not really saying much though), he did call her on being boring in her interview with Ryan. Based on the performance so far, she's in as the top girl.

Kris Allen appears next and he is very cute. We haven't seen much of him either and it's probably going to stay that way when he picks "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson.
I immediately wince. Aren't these contestants coached on song selections? Most of them have been horrific so far. To top it off, Kris has terrible stage presence – all he does is bounce up and down and looks like he is having an epileptic fit. DH is disgusted and so am I. There are millions of songs to chose from and he picks this one? Buh bye Kris, we hardly knew ya and never will…
Kara said the second part of the song was better. Paula thinks he really showed his personality and nailed the song. I question whether she has vodka in her cup. For some reason Simon agrees with Paula. Randy said he proved he could do it without a guitar.

Maybe the sound is much better in person than through my surround sound? I’m confused.

We are joined by another single mother, Megan Joy Corkery. I kind of remember her from Salt Lake City but we haven’t seen her since then. She has a 2 year old son, Ryder. What is up with the single mother trend this season? Unlike most of the other contestants she picks a good song, "Put Your Record On" by Corinne Bailey Rae. She’s very cute but I hate her arm tattoo. She cannot dance and it’s a bit distracting. Megan's singing is good but the first half was much stronger. We get a flash to her mom who is a hotty too. Paula thinks she picked the right song and did everything right. Simon called her a funny little thing and thinks she oversang the second half. Yes! That's what I was trying to put my finger on. Randy is a “big fan” and wants to see her in later rounds. Kara thinks she could be a breakout hit artist. She is giving Allison a run for the money to be picked as the top girl vote getter.

Matt Breitzke is next (aka "The Welder"). He picks a very odd song choice, Tonic's, “If You Could Only See." As I watch him on stage he so doesn’t look like an American Idol but DH reminded me that Rueben and Soul Patrol didn’t either. I’m betting AI would like to take those titles back too. DH thinks it was a good song selection for his voice but I don't agree. There is no demonstration of range. Simon really likes him but hated the song; it was boring and an uncomfortable performance. Randy said the song was kind of boring. Kara said it didn’t show any personality. Paula said he had a good voice but was a poor song choice.

Jesse Langseth who we remember from her sing off against Frankie mentions she is also a single mother. I love red hair and am immediately jealous of hers. She picks "Betty Davis Eyes"which is an awesome song and hard to top. She’s not bad but there is something weird about the way she is singing the song. A little too affected, perhaps? Randy thought it was an OK performance.
Jesse asks for more specific feedback and I hate that shit. Shut up and look pretty. Kara complimented her look and thinks she took some risks that could pay off. Jesse talks again and I’m sick of her. She needs to go. Talking to the judges after every piece of feedback is why I fell out of love with Brooke White last season. Paula calls her captivating but Simon calls her forgettable.

Kai Kalama who takes care of his sick mother decides on "What Becomes of The Broken Hearted." He sings effortlessly compared to the other male performances. Kai has a good voice, decent stage presence, and stupid hair. Kara said the song was old fashioned but he did OK. Paula thinks he sounded really good on the song and gave a good performance. Simon said it was old fashioned, corny and like a wedding singer and Randy called it too safe. I'm not seeing Kai make it past this round.

Mishavonna Henson didn't make it past Hollywood Week last season"but has worked really, really hard" to be in this season's Top 36. She makes another unfortunate song selection with "Drops of Jupiter" by Train. Don't get me wrong, I like the song when it won Song of The Year at the Grammys 7 years ago. Contemporary? Not so much. She also changes the lyrics to be gender appropriate. DH hates that. She has a pretty good voice but something is lacking in the overall package. Paula didn’t think it was an exciting song choice but she can sing. Simon said she was too serious but is technically good, something about the performance left him cold. Randy agrees that she seems so much older than 18 and doesn’t like a solo singer performing a band song. Kara wants her to loosen up. Mishavonna discovers that second time around is not the charm...

The money spot is given to Adam Lambert. I can’t stand this kid and I actively hated him through his auditions. You remember Adam. He's the musical theatre freak who hasn’t been able to make it on his own so he’s turning to AI for a record deal. He settles on "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones. DH calls it the best performance of the night but I am distracted by his weird facial expressions and think it's really cabaret. I know he's going to make it through - I bet every person in the money spot will. That's why Lil Rounds will probably have it next week. I just hope he doesn't make it too far in the Top 12. And his fashion sense and black, black hair give him an odd goth appearance. Paula gives him a standing ovation and was extremely impressed. I’m paraphrasing here because it took her 5 minutes to say the same thing. Simon thought there were equal parts brilliance and terribleness. Randy loved it and called Adam really contemporary. Kara called his vocal technical outrageous.

So who is through? Adam Lambert and Allison are the Top 2 vote getters. Third? Could be Nick/Norman for entertainment or Matt Breitzke for likeability or Jesse for a decent performance.


A. said...

Definitely Allison and Adam, though I agree there is something freaky about Adam. I think I was more impressed with Allison than you were. Maybe it was just surprise, because her interview had me thinking she would suck all over the place.

I wanted to like the blond chick, but her dancing was way too off. Seizure much? Plus the vocals needed work. But if I have to pick a third (and really, since I don't vote, I don't have to), I'd guess her.

Some really awful song choices, ugh. Cold Play? Train? Whatever it was that Kai sang? Betty Davis eyes (way too overdone)? AI needs to buy some new song rights and update their catalog!

Mommy, Esq. said...

I call BS on Stacey - we did see Allison at the auditions (but not Hollywood Week) - you just don't remember her. They remarked about her age during the auditions (not sure she was ready).

Also, I liked Kris Allen. Husband also remarked (I watched while he worked) - Paula is all kinds of crazy. He hasn't even seen her without her meds yet.

Jordan said...

I think Adam is a lock. The rest are up in the air although the guy who sang Viva La Vida probably made Chris Martin roll over in bed in his London flat. Seriously, I could probably do slightly worse at Karaoke on that song.

I really liked Jesse. She's cute, funky in a way and gave a good unique performance I thought. I hope she gets in via Wild Card but i doubt it since Simon clubbed her.

I bet Nick/Norman gets in and will be the Sanjaya of this season. What a disaster he is.

Theresa said...

I prefer Norman over Tatiana. I think Allison, Adam (I enjoyed both of their performances - but I think that Allison needs to learn some public speaking skills), and Megan of the freaky dancing. I honestly have no recollection of the other contenders.

Which I think is the main problem with this new format - some people "blossom" after a few mediocre performances, and we also get to know them each week. They are not getting the chance to do that this year, and I barely know most of these people at this stage.

Very disappointed in last night.

Anonymous said...

If only we HAD a Jason Castro this season. Here is a link to refresh your memory of his top 24 song including the intro and judging. I have yet to see a stand out like Jason; unique, artistic and refreshing.

Natalie said...

i have to say, i'm afraid Norman will make it through and Allison or Jasmine will be the girl. As for # 3, I think there will be two girls and one guy this time around. Last night was awful though. elphie and I both agreed, terrible.