AI Recapper's Retreat

The Retreat spawns from the Television Without Pity American Idol Forum. Primarily for your longer form recaps, a place outside of the flow of the crazy episode threads. This way we can enjoy/comment/encourage/rationalize these long posts more easily. We spend the time on them, here's another spot for them to have 'life'. Not a forum replacement but a sub-set: Post there, paste here! Or more? We'll see. Oh, and NO SPOILERS! Welcome back for a new year of soul crushing pimping of Chosen Ones. -WS

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Friday, March 11, 2005


Final elimination (or, We have the monkeys, we just need to teach them to dance)
by spacecitymarc


And now we know what kind of crap we can expect over the next 11 weeks.

The people who write Ryan's dialogue are idiots who might know the meaning of the words they use but don't know the meaning of the sentences said words combine to form. Case in point: Ryan references "the two rockers" and says, "Which one stays and which one goes?" Which clearly – CLEARLY – means that either Bo or Constantine makes it to the top 12, but not both. But they do indeed both make it, which, if we ignore Ryan's dialogue, is fine: Bo is the best of the guys right now, and I really want Constantine to humiliate himself for a little bit longer. But TPTB could use a good lesson in rhetoric.

Other than Bo, the only two that I'm actually happy to see move on to the top 12 are Jessica (who is, for me, easily the best of the women), and pretty, pretty Lindsay (whose voice I love and who really impressed me on a lousy song last night).

Ryan can't let the show go by without a little bit of bullshit, as he tells Carrie, "Sorry… to have to ask you to stand up and walk over here." Stupid.

Given the final three guys, I think I'm happier to have Scott move on than Travis, who was just terrible, or Nikko, who I could barely remember even after all this time. Not thrilled about Mikalah, but I'd had enough of Janay and Amanda, so I'm willing to overlook it for now.

And for those keeping score, the official final 12 contains exactly one man (Bo) and one woman (Jessica) who were not shown on this program AT ALL until the Hollywood auditions (and not until very last night, in Jessica's case). That means that of the 9 singers whose auditions they didn't show, 7 of them (78%) didn't make it to the finals, and of the 15 singers whose auditions they did show, only two of them (13%) didn't make it to the finals. Again, there are causality questions here, but there is strong evidence that they really do need to at least look into the possibility that exposure really does give certain performers an advantage not available to others (and if I was still in grad school, I think I'd have my next major project).

Then again, why should they? Because the more I think about it, the more I realize that not only is this exactly what TPTB wanted, it's exactly what they told us fairly explicitly that they wanted. That was the point of the extended audition footage, wasn't it? To make us feel more invested in the singers early on? Well, by God, it worked. It worked so well that the group of finalists is top-heavy with people who got exposure and got it early. Which means that TPTB's objections are not only possibly invalid but incredibly hypocritical. Welcome to the big time, kids! Call your lawyer before signing anything.

And finally, I wish to point out that the insistence on creating a gender-balanced final 12 is specifically designed to let some singers through who simply don't deserve it; not that these finalists (necessarily) don't deserve to be there, but this structure forces the top 12 to fit a specific picture rather than sort itself out naturally. And I'm shocked to realize that that means that TPTB have very possibly given themselves a worse top 12 than they would have if they had simply let people get voted through on their own merits. And that, my friends, is just plain stupid for a show that purports to be a popularity contest.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2005


And The Top 12 Is...(but really, it's only a top 4 and some filler, people)
by Swoopin


And so we arrive at the final semi-elimination show with Ryan Sprinkles and the Music of Doom and 16 people either mugging at the camera or looking like they wish they'd never have ditched their rosary beads.

My thoughts on the relatively painless elims tonight:

First, where were our beloved ice cream stools? And couldn't they have sprung for some better chairs? Those looked uncomfortable as hell.

I'm betting that Mario, Lindsey, Vonzelle, and Boredmeov were the lowest vote getters of the top 12.

When Ryan started his "two rockers" shenanigans, I knew they'd both made it. Incidentally, I am now mentally referring to Bo and Constanttinkerbelle as "Pro and Con," which sums up my attitudes about them. I did like that he messed with Constantlytank's mind a bit. Squirm, damnit. And did he wear a Guacs shirt?? A Guacs belly shirt? I didn't need to see that.

Bo, meanwhile, is rolling his eyes at Ryan as he makes his way down and I'm thinking "don't mess with this guy. He's got a knife tat on his chest Ryan." I get the impression that Bo really hates the bullshit that is this show. Which translates, for me, into "I cannot wait to see Bo in his first pimpmercial." Ha.

Carrie and her ugly shirt--she should not wear that melon color. And what's with her sudden love for the shiny metalic crap on her clothes? Is it so that she doesn't completely fade into the woodwork? What's that flashing? Oh, it's Carrie's metalic crap on her lingerie top.

Nadia is wearing her grandmother's rug.

Anwar looks relieved to make it in, and he's wearing his teacher clothes. Hee.

Jessica is psyched, and she's got the girls restrained tonight, thank God.

You know, tough call between Scott and Nikko, really. I prefer Nikko, but that's just me, and I'm sorry he's gone, but I appreciate that Scott has a really great voice. What cracked me up was Simon saying "I can tell you one who's definitely going" and poor Travis looks chagrined and raises his hand like "pick me" and Simon, of course, does. I agree with the people who say don't blame Scott for Nikko's ouster, though. Blame Constolehisspottine. Or better, blame Mehrio, who's boring and lame.

I know Mickles irks people, but I'd rather watch her over the boring that is Amanda any day. In fact, I'd rather watch her over the boring that is Carrie too. She's not nearly as good vocally, but she at least makes it interesting. I did feel a little bad for Amanda--her whole face said, "well, that's it, back to Vegas and giving up singing." She, out of everyone, looked devastated.

Oh, and total props to Bo for giving props to the audience--never forget your fans, dude! And for thanking the judges. Now that's a class act, kids.

Overall, not a bad Top 12 at all. Lindsey's gone the first week, I think, but I hope she goes out with something equal to last night. And isn't wearing gauchos when she does it.

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Blogger Wandering Snark sez:

I'd decided the first week to not give AI the attention/time for their little three days a week shenanigans, but there was absolutely nada on last night so *shrug*

I too would have prefered Nikko but that was a close call and I'm okay with Scott as Nikko certainly has a better chance to grab an opportunity down the road and as we know from Simon this is Scott's only chance. Ever. You freak. *eye roll*

I absolutely loved ConstantButtOfOurJokes telling Ryan about how there's plenty of room for both he and Bo because "I think we're very different people". I totally imagined him following that up with "because, you know, he's the real deal and I'm a poseur. If you need any more evidence to back up that point you'll notice that tonight I'm wearing a Justin Guarini t-shirt."

That itself was worth tuning in for, and I'm glad someone else caught that he was wearing that!

The jaded bastard in me is kinda glad to see Amanda snuffed out like a cigarette under fate's shoe after her whole "If I didn't make it I'd just give up on my dreams altogether" thing in THE CHAIR.


 
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Upon Further Review: The Ladies
by Adam


No wonder the contestants are always singing songs containing various forms of "doing it" - Seacrust says "let's do it" off the top of the show. Is that a request or a command? Scary stuff man. Anyway, singing?

Amanda did indeed perform Celine's pale imitation of Tina's classic as someone mentioned on the boards. However, I still think she did a good job; she is among the most comfortable on stage and her voice has a pure quality I enjoy. Now, she does need to stop the mic abuse though. That made Trenyce's mic tapping seem demure.

Janay goes back to the "World's Most Shocking Acts Caught on Camera" style of singing this week. Honestly, I thought she was horrendous week one, I actually liked her last week, but not looking at the screen and just listening - it is quite clear. She picked a good song and is cute as a button but the voice wavered like Anna Nicole off her meds. I can most def admit it is time for her to go even though I don't put her at Carmen or JSIV levels of suckage.

Carrie Overpimped returns to the ballad except it is truly boring this time (which is scary since the other ballad she performed was TIFFANY and I liked that one). I mentioned in the ep thread that this Jo Dee Messina track crossed over to AC radio which is why Ellie May probably picked it but it is Sominex, Nytol, and Ambien all rolled into one. You know, she really is very pretty but the judges need to get over themselves with the "best voice" comments - she hits the notes but VERY often, has little conviction behind them.

Paybee V has the best smile of anyone ever; I'm just sayin'. Anyway, as with everyone else for this "listen back", I didn't look at the screen. Her performance does lose a bit without her excellent working of the stage but to me, she still has the coolest and most versatile voice in the competition. She didn't oversing, had a great amount of power, and didn't mimic Aretha or Kelly. It was hella fun and I still love her; she's the one I care the most about and I found her endearing with the outfit explanation. I rarely find cute "cute" but that seemed genuine to me especially the way her voice trailed off slightly embarassed but still loving the family.

Nadia loses even more than Vonzell when just listening because her voice isn't as strong especially on the slower, more sultry beginning. Will she actually be able to sell a ballad because she's going to have to at some point. However, once the tempo kicked in, she was awesome. You can hear the dedication and emotion in her voice.

Lindsey Lingerie shifted her fashion disaster southward this week rendering my nickname meaningless. I don't think her voice is big enough for this song and I think she wants to sing music that really DOESN'T fit what would be good for her. I know alot of you guys like her but I want her to go away because she really was the only one to get hidden underneath the band and I'm afraid she will strain internal organs trying to get some of the notes out. Randy's on crack because she wasn't trying to use her "husky tone" at all imo.

Mickles the Nanny Fine seriously? Without looking at the screen and before the glory note ending? Is the worst of the night in my book. Worse than freakin' Janay. Worse than Jessica Lisperra (who I, Adam, am the only one who hates but I digress). I'll admit that the ending was actually shockingly good but before then, it was a garbled, flat, tone deaf MESS. And I'm so tired of Randy going to the song choice like he TOTALLY wants to do then trying to back pedal. God.

Jessica Lisperra I have just all kinds of dislike for this contestant. I'm in the major minority (hee, does that make sense?) and I feel a little weird for that but I just don't like her voice, I don't like the trying to play up the Gretchen Wilson country trash diva thing, and I think she's gross (and I like "girls") always looking like she just rolled out of a bed and came to perform with a hangover. This performance to me was alot of yelling and for her supposed "big voice"? The glory notes always blow worse than showtime at Sea World to me. Yuck. yuck. yuck.

Since Swoopin is living in dreamland with Carrie going ;-) - I think I will too, can some combo of Mickles, Jessica, Janay, and Lindsey leave? After tonight, I honestly think Amanda is my third fav girl behind Paybee V and Nadia *ducks objects*

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Last dance, last chance
by spacecitymarc


Ryan asks Simon, "What do you have to say to the girls as they get ready for probably the biggest night of their life ?" Simon responds, "Well, it's a bit late for advice. You know, we're like seconds before the show." Translation: that was a stupid question and you are a stupid moron. When Simon is done, Ryan says, "Great advice." Translation: you're an asshole for purposely not understanding the rhetorical nature of my question and the fact that it was more for the audience at home than for the contestants. The weird thing is, they're both totally right.

Amanda Avila, "River Deep, Mountain High." She interviews that "Geminis are also very indecisive and I'll never be able to pick which song." Replace that last word with "note" and we've got a deal. She's terrible. It's as though she knows all the things that she needs to do to be a good singer but is simply incapable of doing them very well at all. She also doesn't know how to handle a microphone, as the constant fluttering and switching hands generates a series of annoying pops throughout the entire song. Before giving her numbers, Ryan says, "It does come down to that song and of course those who have followed you along the way," which is exactly the point of the complaints about unequal exposure.

16-year-old Janay Castine enjoys walks in the park and candlelit dinners. Also, she gets together with her girlfriends to watch Sex and the City, drink margaritas and go on spa vacations. You're 16. We know that you're just parroting back stuff you've heard other people say, and we're not impressed. Oh, and she sings something I've never heard and is back to looking and sounding terrified. She's really bad and totally tanks the ending. Paula, however, says, "You have made a lot of fans out here, and it's gonna take your fans pulling you through tonight, because you've had some really good performances up to here." Which is exactly the point of the complaints about unequal exposure.

Carrie Underwood, "Because You Love Me." A bad, boring song, but a good performance. Not to sound too much like Randy and Paula, but I think she may have the best pure voice of the women. That does not, however, mean that she is the best or most interesting singer. Randy tries to invoke his stupid "dog pound" concept, and the guys just leave him fucking hanging until Paula demands that they bark for her lest her head explode from the cognitive dissonance of this thing! That once was! But isn't now! Simon says, "I don't think there's anything that we could say tonight that would change the audience's mind." Which is exactly the point... oh, forget it. This is how they win their arguments, by wearing you down until you give in just to shut them the fuck up. Ryan mentions that she'll have to work with the different theme nights and says, "It'll be hip-hop and country all in the same song. It's been done before, I'm sure." In fact, just this past year, you dink. "Over and Over" by Nelly & Tim McGraw? Kind of a big hit? #1, in fact? Which you should probably know AS THE HOST OF AMERICAN TOP 40?

Vonzell Solomon, "Respect." Starts with "Put your hands together, y'all come on, we're gonna have some fun tonight!" Total meh. Too much of a performance rather than a vocal. I think she became Mario for a song.

Nadia Turner, "Try A Little Tenderness." The transition between the slow and fast parts was incredibly clumsy (the musical director's fault), but she nailed both parts, and I'd love to hear her do the whole thing from start to finish. Simon kills Amanda dead when he tells Nadia that she reminded him of Tina Turner.

Interview break, as Ryan describes Mikalah as "relentless," which… yeah, that's exactly the word, isn't it? Mikalah says, "I think that America has really seen my personality." Honey, the astronauts on the international space station have seen your personality. It's hard to miss: you look down, and there it is.

Lindsay Cardinale, "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing." And once again, the only reason to sit in a stool is so that you can eventually stand up off of it. Drink! I hate the song, but she was great, easily her best vocal yet. I really do love her voice and hope that she makes it through. Paula, meanwhile, can't engage because she doesn't like the song, but as just mentioned, it wasn't a problem for me at all. Also not a problem for me? Words and standing. Then Simon insults her by insulting Ryan, and Ryan (who I think might actually be genuinely pissed, if only a little) retaliates by throwing Simon's water on him, and God help me, he's still a terrible host, but I'm really starting to like him AS A PERSON this year.

Mikalah Gordon, "Somewhere." Not good. Boring. Too low for her, and she has one of the lowest voices of this year's women. Just a mess. Randy says that she's fearless for tackling a song like this, but all it really means is that she tried out for her high school production of West Side Story.

Jessica Sierra comes out blasting! I love her before she even hits the song proper. I wasn't familiar with "The Boys Are Back In Town" before she performed it in the last round of the Hollywood auditions, but I totally see why she chose it both times. Carrie may have a purer voice, but Jessica, it's clear to me, is just a flat-out better singer, and not only has she not flubbed a song yet, she seems to be getting better and better. She's just awesome, and she overtakes Nadia as the woman to beat in this competition. She and Bo are the only two that I'm legitimately excited to hear what they're gonna do.

Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now: Amanda, Janay. (alternate: Mikalah)

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Tuesday, March 08, 2005


...And Jupiter Aligns With Mars
by Swoopin


Aww, Sprinkles is wearing a glittery shirt.

The opening exchange between Ryan and Simon is the stupidest thing ever. Ryan wants Simon to give advice like 2 seconds before people have to start performing? So Simon says "Be good." And if you can't be good, be careful!

Onward with the Age Of Aquarius, Part Two.

Amanda: "River Deep, Mountain High"--okay, the mic-tapping is annoying and she's smacking it so hard the mic's actually picking up the clicking and thumping. Jesus. And is she chewing gum? because it sure looks like it. I'm Amandabivilent. It's not bad, but it ain't the caterpillar's boots either. Simon's gone off her a bit, it seems.

Janay[: flat out stank. Wrong key, bad notes, deer staring down a rifle barrel. Simon: "Suitcase and an airplane." Works for me. Meanwhile, Paula is begging this girl's fans to vote for her. Why? Did we learn nothing from the Leah LeBlah incident last year Paula?

Carrie Overpimped: informs us that she's a Pisces and that she "loves to fish." Christ on a cracker. This girl is either dumber than a box of rocks or a country-fried android. Her version of "Because You Love Me" is so incredibly boring and lacking in performance skills that even Simon seems disappointed. And that top? Gah.

Vonzelle: apparently doesn't fish, even though she is also a Pisces. Instead, she ropes jackalopes or something. "Respect" is a good choice because people know it, but a bad choice because people know it too well. I thought she handled this well enough to get into the top 12, despite the hat and boots. Simon saying "lah-SOO" cracked my shit up.

Nadia: I'm impressed with the song choice--"Try a Little Tenderness" works for her limited and lower range. But WTF is she wearing? I spend half her performance trying to figure out what's on her skirt. Simon should not compare her to Tina Turner. That's just wrong.

Lindsey: Not the stool! Aiaiai. This is the best she's done, and like Nadia, that she chose a song written for a man helps with her lower alto range. That said, this isn't brilliant, but it's better and it should be enough to get her to the finals, except I hate those gaucho pants she's wearing, which just look all wrong. And Simon's comparing her to Sprinkles? Weird. He deserved the water for picking on poor Ryan.

Mickles: "Somewhere" other than the Top 12 I think may be where she ends up after this. It is--not good. Her range is too limited for it, and while I think she has just bucketloads of potential, she just isn't right for this show. She needs several years of voice lessons to harness her potential and a few year's maturity. Simon says she's lost what he liked about her. I'm not sure what that was, but he's the one who told her to tone it down. Ass.

Jessica: Goes back to "The Boys Are Back In Town" and lets the girls get a good airing while she's at it. I thought she was as good as Nadia and I think overall she's got better range. I liked it and it deserved the pimp spot, IMO. Simon makes some completely inappropriate,sexist comment about the boobage and Ryan cuts him off. Go Sprinkles!

Recap, and Seacrest Out.

Who should go: Janay and Mikahlah were the weakest but..

Who will go: I think Amanda is going to suffer from going first, and that will push either Janay or Mickles into the top 12. In fact, I suspect it will actually be Amanda and Lindsey who go.

In my dreams: Carrie bores her way back to her cover band down on the farm.

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Blogger Wandering Snark sez:

BWAH!! First off awesome work. As I mentioned I feel I've hit the wall but it's reading fellow poster's stuff that gets me going again.

I too am Amandabivilent (™ Swoopin) and I was wondering if I was the only one to notice that her mic tapping has become so extreme it's audible...

"But I don't use live bait... and I always throw back what I catch" and I've added to the list 'and I use barbless hooks' but I don't think Carrie actually went that far. (and the preceeding isn't really a sentance, I know). I mentioned to marc the Lewis Black college/horse* standup bit in referrence to the show last week and this was one of those moments for me. I had to mute her performance just to recooperate.

You cracked my shit up talking about Vonzelle roping jackalopes. I'm glad you also caught my feeling that it was a night of battling wtf? outfit decisions. Nadia came out and I had Cyndi Lauper flashbacks, I could picture her wearing that... that... well it was basically a tutu with a skirt over it right??

*The basics of it is that when you hear people say stupid shit it gets caught in a loop in your brain and that's what causes brain embolisms.


 
Blogger Adam sez:

I totally agree that Simon brought the hyperbole comparing Nadia to Tina. That was indeed wrong; I suspect he did it just because he said Amanda was so NOT Tina earlier so he had the awesome Ms. Turner (Tina not Nadia, although she's pretty good, heh) on his mind. I mentioned in the "Name Your Theme Nights" thread that a Tina night would be awesome b/c I think both the guys and ladies could get into her material but now I'm not so sure.

And btw, I hope you guys don't ban me from posting because I was totally one of the "OppositeDayers" in that I liked Amanda but was disgusted by Jessica! I swear I'm not on illegal substances, I must just be weird.


 
Blogger Wandering Snark sez:

There shalt be no bannings based upon varying opinions, if anything it's what makes things interesting. You may want to make sure you are getting enough iron. Heh.


 
Blogger Swoopin sez:

I am always thrilled with a big Bwah! And a tm too! Eeeee for me!

Snark, the whole mic-tapping thing with Amanda was driving me nucking futz, seriously. I was trying to figure out what the HELL that sound was, then I realized it was her hand thumping on the mic.

And yeah, the outfits were very WTF, although I thought Vonzell was awfully cute with her embarrassed admission that her dad bought her the hat and boots and she wanted to wear them.

Adam, I like Jessica and her trashy take on things, but I can see Amanda's appeal, mic-tapping aside. And I agree that a Tina night would rock. The idea of Carrie country-frying a Tina song would be good for unlimited snark, for one thing, and I'd like to see someone do "What's Love Got To Do With It" on this show, but only someone who can handle it. Might be a good choice for Nadia.


 
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Welcome to 'Performer' Idol!
by Wandering Snark


Here come the girls and just like Family Circus, they are down in the corner... just waiting to suck.

I’m just so feeling over it all this week... so they best ba-rang ette tonight or the following may not be pretty.

Amanda Avila kicks us off with another song people are going to be saying ‘Performer X’ did that? Hmm, news to me. Personally I can’t help but hear Erasure when I hear this one... Amanda needs to stop tapping the mic in her hand because it’s drivin me nuckin futz.

Janay Castine Candelight dinners and romance... that sounds so bizarre coming from someone so damn young; and this song choice has the same problem. This is absolutely painful, right from the first moment that made my neck do that horrible involuntary crunching down into my torso thing... the only question is, how many times can the same person be saved by pity votes? I think she’s out of wishes...

Carrie Underwood To be honest her intro was so amazingly painfully rediculous and I’m fairly sure coached and/or written for her that I boycotted her song. I don’t use live bait I see the judges are in a ‘top-that’ betting process to see who wins the prize by making the most roundabout and pointless statements possible... Pauler makes my head hurt.

Vonzelle Solomon comes out in a second-hand stripper’s outfit from the Cowgirl’s Coochie Corral and I believe if you take out the portion during which she is DeGarmoing the crowd this performance is 10 seconds long. Out of those 2 seconds are nice the rest boringly average so I sahre Simon’s extreme sense of ‘What the fuck!?’

Are we really only able to send home two tonight?

Nadia ‘Tina’ Turner’s Hair I see there is also some kind of pool among the girls for who can take the stage in the most rediculous getup. [Randy]I just ain’t feelin it tonight.[/Randy] I think she is far from the ‘whole package’ as Pauler sez... I think she is 80% dazzle and 20% substance but she perfect for the apparent year of ‘all sizzle no steak’. Who will make the Final 12 of Performer Idol? Why do I not-so-suddenly have a hard time giving a shit?

Lindsey Cardinale Sounds like a young Cher tonight it seems. She’s another victim of not being able to sing a whole song and having to pick up in the middle to finish at a sensible place, once she gets going I think she’s very good, but who knows?

Meekaylah the Gorgon is now officially a caricature of herself and is so completely ‘believing her own press’ that I no longer hate her and simply think she is rivaling Elizabeth Pha on the pathetic scale. Girl has a serious identity crisis ans as I’ve contended the whole time she ‘isn’t just who she is’ but actually doesn’t have a damn clue who she is.

Jessica Sierra kind of half-saves the show from a total boredom fest with her ‘Boys are Back’ now sans Singin Hobo outfit, this time opting more for of just a Ho look. I don’t know if I really liked it but I like her. I think she’s been the most consistent, has the coolest voice and isn’t over the top, over her head or phony so she’s still my pick of the gals. Interestingly I do think it’s all about life experience here, she has a depth the other girls can’t fake.

Overall? A bloody trainwreck... as long as Jessica doesn’t go home I don’t care who else shows up for the Final 12.

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Castration of the Mehn
by Phan


Simon and Randy decide to be big bitches and bitch about people bitching. You know Simon, three seasons ago you were bitching about Jim Verraros' advancement into the Finals and you blamed it on "symphathy" which might stem from the fact that he was showcased constantly in the auditions, so Shut. Up. And Randy, good job bitching about things you yourself have bitched about.

Anyway, tonight's theme of interview was the Zodiac signs. No one cares. If I were a contestant, I'd literally ask, "Can we have more singing time?" unless I knew I were one of the bad ones.

Scott Savol superbowl shuffles singing "I Can't Help Myself." Scott's version is completely meh and unenergetic and reminds me of Sarah Mahter zombifying her way through "Get Ready" two week earlier. Simon calls him on the superbowl shuffle and Paula tries to negate his opinion because he isn't a performer. I laugh and laugh because Paula is defending dancing that she'd never choreograph without worrying about being laughed out of show business. And Scott? Stop clapping when you get a compliment. It makes you look like an asshat.

Bo Bice sings "I'll Be" and... it reminds me of Kelly's "Walk On By" a bit. The week after she became the favorite, she made a meh song choice, though she still did well. Bo follows suit here. It is all sort of blah though he nails the chorus well. Simon tells him it's his competition to lose. Oh lord. That's the "you'll be coming in 4th" kiss of death. Eh. 8 weeks of Bo? Awesome. We find out Bo has been doing that song for a while though. Ah, I see now. Comfortable = complacency. Hopefully he doesn't get screwed by the voters.

AnTracheotomy Federov bobs up and down to a song that everyone has heard but I can't quite pinpoint the title. I know it's Marc Anthony. "When I've Got You" I guess. And I'm quite surprised he's doing uptempo well, but it's still not wonderful. It's serviceable. Probably the best vocal control we've seen out of him so far. But still. It's cheese. Simon Dr. Seuss's "the latin flair of a polar bear" and hee. Quite true. Anthony is totally the Vanilla Ice of Latin Music.

Nikko Smith trots out in the same outfit as last week (to me it seems) with a brown hat. He is singing "Georgia on My Mind" by Ray Charles. And... it isn't very good in the beginning. However, he pulls out the glory notes and... they're just a little off. Simon says the glory notes will save his ass, which makes me think Simon didn't like the whole thing either.

Travis Tucker tonight stars as the paperboy in "A Christmas Carol." "Why sir, it's Christmas Day!" I actually said that when he walked out. Then he sings "Every Little Step" by Bobby Brown and... it's bad. More style than substance, he dances and does that weird foot move where it looks like you're on an assembly line or something. Oh and he's terribly flat through out the performance, just like last week. Except this time, the judges call him on it. Simon says "You've just shown you're more dancer than singer. It's was appauling." And I pretty much agree with him, but we'll see something worse tonight.

Mario Vazquez stands in the middle of the seal and I just don't get it. Why are they pimping him so much? He isn't that good. He croons his way through "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?" and his voice is incredibly nasal and high and he looks up creepily (even more creepily than Scott could ever hope to be) throughout the song. I guess it's showing off his range of meh. Simon tells him he needed to do that. Simon then proceeds to tell him he isn't the best vocalist (which he isn't. He's probably the most marketable, but I think four other males outclass him vocally), and Paula's ovaries jump out and attack Simon, while Randy agrees with him. I still say whatever to Mario, but he'll probably be around for a while.

Constantine Maroulis takes on Sting's "Every Little Thing She Does" and why is he still here? He's not even bad enough to pay attention to how horrible he is anymore. There isn't much more to say other than he just blahs his way through the song. Simon calls him a bad Sting impersonator and people applaud! HA! Although the cynicist tells me they misheard Simon and thought he compared him in a kind way to Sting, the optimist believes some TWoPers are sitting there cheering Simon on.

Siderant: Paula is constantly interupting the other two (Simon in particular) mduring their critques, and I know this isn't a new practice for her, but SHUT UP. God. Wasn't she bitching during the audition rounds that Simon was interupting her then? I hate her so much. Stupid cunting hypocrite. And yes, the c-word becomes a verb here in Paula's case.

Finally Anwar Robinson sings "What a Wonderful World" and I really must say it wasn't anything special, but it was better than everyone else tonight. In fact, I think he really oversung at the end and it was probably the most overwrought ending I've witnessed thus far this season. But... it was good. Randy and Paula prove how objective they are by giving a standing ovation to their favorite and telling him it was the best vocal. I guess it was good in that sense he managed to stay on key during the oversung glory notes. Good job, assholes. Simon, who (surprisingly) is being somewhat tolerable and objective judging tonight, tells him it was a great performance and tells him he is everything a great music teacher should be. Then he talks about Anwar's earnestness and puppies and tells him to marry Paula because they'd have the nicest children ever. Heh.

Based on everything right in this world, the six to move on should be:
Bo, Nikko, Anwar, Anthony, Mario, and Scott.

Since I am not a complete moron:
Bo, Anwar, Anthony, Mario, Scott, and Constantine.

I'd like to see: Travis and Constantine leave. I don't care if Travis takes Scott's place though.

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Monday, March 07, 2005


Dancing is the new singing
by spacecitymarc


We start with Simon taking umbrage at the Melinda Lira/Joe Murena argument that less airtime puts contestants at a disadvantage: "The audience aren't stupid at home, they're voting people through on whether they can sing well or not." This suggests to me that he doesn't understand the complaint, which is that the contestants with no pre-semis airtime had to perform at a higher level than the others just to stay alive. Argue against that if you must, Simon, but understand the terms of the debate before you try to dismiss it.

Randy, for his nonsense-spewing, offers this: "All these people talking about song choice, just sing the song." Fair enough. Except for the fact that Randy and Paula, not the singers, are the ones who keep saying that. So basically Randy has decided to bitch at the contestants for something he himself said. Moron.

And then the show that thinks its audience isn't stupid bases its pre-song interviews around fucking astrology. Good lord. Then again, considering the psychic they sent the finalists to last year, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. In the meantime, I can't help but notice that four of the guys are Tauruses. And then I wonder if [product-placed car company] has something to do with this stupid little gimmick.

Scott Savol, "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)." Not fantastic, but good. Solid. Deserving of making the finals, certainly. And then, a weird exchange. Simon, who doesn't make one comment about Scott's singing during his entire critique: "The choreography at the beginning was awful." Paula: "You do it!" Simon, delivering the coup de grace: "I'm not a singer!" And there it is. To put this in perspective, consider the following, logically identical argument: "If you think that the woodwork is bad, why don't you do it?" "I'm not the cook!"

Bo Bice sings some Edwin McCain ballad that I don't know because I've tried my damnedest to avoid the guy ever since "Solitude" befouled my ears a decade ago. He's not mind-blowing like the past two weeks, and I'm an eensy bit worried about the Scott Stapp-ness of it, but he's really good and shows off some versatility that suggests that he won't be as adrift during some of the theme weeks as we may have feared.

Anthony Federov sings an upbeat song that I don't know, and it's a smart choice on his part, even though he's being drowned out by the backing singers. It might be his best performance so far, but I remain so utterly unmoved that erosion scientists should plant me on the edge of the Sahara and have Anthony sing to me to prevent more of arable Africa from being claimed by the desert. And then, for the second time this season, and ever, Ryan makes a joke that is actually funny when Anthony says that Travis kicks his butt at chess, and Ryan says, "Thank you for not saying 'ass.'" It ain't Black Adder, but I give him an honestly earned chuckle.

Nikko Smith sings "Georgia On My Mind" and confirms the suspicions that I started entertaining last week, which is the only reason for a contestant to start a song on a stool is so that they can stand up off of it in the middle. I implore Jacob to make that a "(Drink!)" from now on. Other pointless showman move: taking off his hat and placing it on the mic stand. Aw, the stand is cold! I wonder if it's bald. Oh, right, the song: it's a pretty decent version, if a little too low for Nikko's range.

Travis Tucker dances "Every Little Step" and in so doing, forgets to sing it. He's working his moves so hard that not only does he miss notes, he drops some of them entirely. I fear that the beatbox break guarantees himself a spot in the top 12 that could go to someone else.

Mario Vazquez does "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart," and it seems, honest to God, like the first time I've heard him actually sing rather than simply preen onstage. It's a good performance, not nearly as annoying as I usually find him, but he's got that boy-band tenor that I personally don't like. Simon has clearly taken some of Paula's Babble pills, with a double dose of Redundalin, as he tells Mario, "You have a charm about you, and that's part of your appeal." In other news, Lindsay is very pretty, which makes her attractive.

Constantine Maroulis, having previously more or less offered to whore himself out to any bullshit genre the show wants to throw at him as long as it means that they'll let him stay in the competition, sings "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic." He's just bad. There's not a lot more I can say about it. It's like if you ask me to explain why I think that 2001: A Space Odyssey and Saving Private Ryan are two of the greatest movies ever made; I can make a few attempts at logical justification, but they ultimately just hit me so far down in my subconscious that I don't think I'll ever plumb the depths of it, I can only know that this is how I feel, and that arguments to the contrary will not sway me, as that would attack the very fundament of who Marc is and what is the essence of his Marcness. To explain it would be like me trying to explain what "bad" means. I just take it on faith, lest we find ourselves in a discussion on metaphysics.

Anwar Robinson closes with a fine version of "What A Wonderful World." Like most of the contestants of both genders, he has trouble in his lower range, but I really do think that this is the best we've heard from him so far.

Go home: Travis Tucker. Other than that, as long as Bo is safe, I kinda don't care.

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When the Moon Is In The Seventh House
by Swoopin


Ryan's jeans look like they have blue snakeskin in the pocket area, which is kind of wrong. And don't they pay this guy enough to buy a belt? Huh.

We have to have a chatty chat with the judges first, wherein Simon misses the plot of the argument about airtime and Randy says "just sing the song." As opposed to, oh I dunno, playing the spoons to it? I don't know what Paula said because I'm mezmerized by the mippy hair and trying to read her necklace.

I have a theory that whatever Simon Says tonight will rule in terms of voting. We'll see if I'm right.

Scott: "Can't Help Myself." Vocally fine, otherwise, eh. I agree with Simon--this guy is never going to be graceful, but the cheesy gestures. Just no. Simon is meh at best, but says nothing about his singing, which pisses me off.

Bo: Confession. Not only do I like long haired rockers, I like "I'll Be." So sue me. Not quite as kick ass as "Whipping Post," but a smart move, shifting it down to show he can do more than rock. Simon gives him the "hit record" comment, which is a plus, but then "your competition to lose," which is a Bad Thing.

Anthony: I hate his jacket and I know this is Marc Anthony but can't remember the title. He hit some rank notes in the middle and sounded awfully goaty to me. But smart to go up tempo. I thought it was meh. Simon seems unimpressed by Borederov's dancing and starts to compare it to Clay's "Grease," which will piss off about 30 million people for 80 different reasons.

Nikko: "Georgia On My Mind." Plays the Ray Card and it works--he needed to be memorable for more than just his singing to boost into the top 12 and this should do it. Wobbled a bit in the lower register, but totally killed on it at the end. Simon Says: right move.

Travis: Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step." He is so damned cute and so completely out of breath three measures in. Also off key nearly the whole time. Simon Says: Go home.

Mario: "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart." I totally hate his voice, which vaguely screams Craggle at me, but I have to admit he did fine with this, although I thought he was too careful with it and never quite cut loose and showed the passion. Simon Says: charming and appealing.

Constinksalot: "Every Little Thing She Does" by the Police. Gah, my favorite band ever, and I'll bet Sting is very very sorry he released the rights for that. Godawful--the song is wrong for his voice, he's flat at the beginning and sharp at the end and has no energy. And to add insult to injury, he's a Virgo like me. Simon Says: "bad impersonation of Sting."

Anwar: "What A Wonderful World." His musical training is allowing him to play with the arrangements to show various sides. I thought this was totally the best performance tonight, and as a plus, I thought he looked really attractive with the hair back and the fitted clothes. Simon liked it, then inexplicably starts talking about puppies and Anwar marrying Paula. So now I'm thinking he doesn't like him after all.

Yay! "Seacrest out!" is back. I missed it.

Based on Simon's comments, we should see the end of Travis and Scott tonight, or maybe Travis and Constantine. I'm not sure Simon has enough power to overcome the hobbyists and 15 year olds who are gonna powervote him in though.

Should go: ConstantlyIrksMe and Travis. But I'm betting Scott is gone, and that's not right.

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The one where Anwar finally puts it all together.
by Wandering Snark


Pauler’s odd fashion choice du jour is a choker chain with the handle from a gold butter knife with some kind of text in script etched into it; she also has this gigantic super-mippy thing happening with her hair that is truly cracking me up.

Speaking of cracking me up, tonight the intros have the contestants “looking to the stars” in one of the cheesiest astrology based ‘backdrops’ ever, and really when they practically write the snark for us it’s just to damn easy so that’s the last I’ll mention of it. Gotta have standards y’all!

I have to say I’m feeling the interminable length of this year’s process at this point and I’m a bit burnt out...

Scott Savol - I don’t understand this whole untucked shirt thing in general, but it is particularly ill-conceived in Scott’s case. He has on a dark suitcoat with a light dress shirt. The look of having a shirt hanging two feet over your beltline gives you a bit of a Dorf vibe, it seems to have reduced Scott to four feet tall. The ‘no waist’ look is particularly bad for a heavy guy...

Bo Bice - Edwin McCain is probably a good choice since he does have a very McCain vibe. I mean that in a good way too, not in a current-day lite rock cliche McCain way. Edwin is more than ‘I’ll Be’ if you’ve heard his first couple albums and in that style is how I relate the two together. Simon officially gives his ultimate blessing/ultimate curse saying the comp is his to lose.

Anthony Boresmypantsov - Displays why he’s been the King of LiteRock unp until this point, because the stage came close to swallowing him up completely on this weak ass performance that was supposed to show range and ‘soul’ I guess? Also, button you gahdamn shirt, please.

Nikko Smith I love this song choice and I liked that he had a lot of range in both his vocals and his presentation/performance. I think puts him squarely in the running.

JazzieCazzie’s Travis Welcome to dancin beatboxin’ idol? I do feel Travis might do better at either of the previous but the singing version? Not so much. Pauler’s ‘boy crayzee’ happy pills are again completely clouding her ability to make sensible comments.

Monkio Fezquez Tonight he really has become the morphing of Justin Guarini and ‘Craggle’; but the vocal was pretty good. I still want him gone but we’ll let him go on I’ll guess.

ConstantSkeeve Please stop looking at me like that. Ugh. I'm burnt out on saying how much he sucks so I'll just leave it there...

Anward and Upward I think I like the look with his hair back and I definitely like this song choice as it has about ten times more life than his previous choices. He is the king of song choice and this is the Anwar a lot of us thought could really kick this competition’s butt. This is official notice that he is in the top several contestants at this point.

Overall I’d rank them at this point this way, with the effect of their last chance to get to the 12 in parenthesis: Bo (no change), Anwar (++), Nikko (++), Monkio (+), Scott (a bit -), Anthony (-), ConstantCreed (n/c), Travis (- -). Deserving-shlemerving Scott will be gone Wed and whoever out of Anthony and Travis gets the highest percentage of the squeeling girls vote (after they vote ConstantSkeeve for an hour and forty five minutes) will see that fifteen minutes determine how much longer their 15 minutes of fame lasts.

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