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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Saturday, March 19, 2005

And then there were eleven (or, The first cut is the deepest (voice))
by spacecitymarc

I'll admit it: I'm sad to see Lindsay go. I thought she had a wonderful voice that she didn't muck up with a lot of the garbage that other contestants frip themselves up with. She had no idea how to choose material that suited it, of course, but I was kinda hoping that she'd stick around long enough to figure it out. Plus, where will I find my weekly dose of AI pretty? Ah, well. At least she went out all Judd Harris classy, shaking the judges' hands and loving that she made it this far. Plus, she did what we all want to do every time we hear the disco arrangement of "Knock On Wood," which is to fingergun the "thunder" and "lightning." Peeyoo! Peeyoo!

That said, if this is what it takes to keep Jessica on my TV for another week, so be it. When she was sent back to the safe group, I actually started clapping. Swear to God.

In the meantime, looking at the bottom three on stage with Ryan, I've gotta ask, how tall is Lindsay? I mean, I can't spot any obvious heels on her, and she dwarfs Seacrest. Maybe that's why she's always squatting. To avoid banging her head on the rafters.

As for the rest of it…

Group sing! Hello, darkness, my old friend. I had forgotten just how much I had missed you. This song, this "When You Tell Me That You Love Me," is the worst thing I've heard since, like, "I Believe." My attempts to wrap my brain around the line "I want to kiss your smile and feel the pain" have resulted in me losing the 8s column of the multiplication table. Mikalah's like a foghorn in this group. And that, my friends, is comedy.

Nadia's "family & friends" person looks like Yeesha Jackson.

Anthony's being safe is utterly distasteful to Simon.

Pimpmercial! And it's… surprisingly not utterly ridiculous. Like, it could be a legitimate commercial that I wouldn't laugh at, and the singing isn't painfully cheesy. So what the hell's the point? All I can really snark on is how Constantine looks like he's carjacking Lindsay. But that's okay, he's just smoldering.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

All The Cheddar That's Fit For Cheese (or, how I admit that I'm all about the Pointy Pose...)
by Swoopin

And the universe rights itself--Ryan is in the audience, talking about having to lose someone while wearing what appears to be a large chain stapled to his red t-shirt. Yo Ryan, just use the chain to keep them with us, yo.

Lame-o moment of the night--not the cheesetastic group sing or the pimpmercial, but Fakin' Aiken mouthing "live on American Idol" while twinking his head back and forth like a first grader making fun of the teacher behind her back.

Speaking of fake, Ryan fakes everyone out with the "why" question, and I'm all "finally, Mehrio, because dude, I've still got popcorn here" and no. Mehrio is now officially dead to AI. Moving right along.

Major rehash in which Constainedpits inability to apply anti-perspirant is highlighted. Here's a hint hon: a.) wear an undershirt of some sort, b.) ask Nadia for some dress shields, or c.) don't stick your hand in the air like an Up With People singer.

So then Ryan starts blah blah blah charitycakes and my nose quivers like a bloodhound's because I'm all about The Pointy Pose. "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" is not suited for a group sing, and 12 people doing this are never going to sound good, but props to ConstantCarjacking and Mickles the Clown for winning the Sucked The Most Award this evening. Your prize is a case of Old Spice for Con and a new makeup gun permanantly set to Not Quite A Whore for Mickles.

I didn't recognize Nadia without her weedwacker hair, seriously. She was first runner up in the Sucked The Most Contest though--yikes. Maybe she has the Power Of The Hair, kind of like Mehrio had The Power Of The Hat?

So Bo and Carrie are clearly the Chosen Couple--kind of a Beauty and the Beast thing going there, because his hair looks waaaaay better than hers and that twang of hers is beastly. Why'd she get the last solo? Why'd she get two solos? We're on to you PTB--interns, make a note.

Oh look, it's Ruben, who is so famous he has to be identified with a caption and is so not busy being a UNICEF Ambassador and recording his next CD that he doesn't even warrant 5 seconds of Ryan's interview time.

Are we EVER going to get to eliminations--oh yes, yay, finally! Fakin' Aiken is a smug asshat who must die--my general distaste for Simon, however, is temporarily lifted by the look of utter disgust on his face when AnPHONEY is declared safe.

And now, a general health safety alert: the Dazzling Lights Of Doom may, may cause seizures. Look at poor Jessica's Granny people and let up on the lights!

On the other hand...hee...all the strobe flashing on Mickles' face was cracking me up. I kept hearing her plastic surgeon saying "or we could choose this for your next face" since every time the strobe changed her entire face morphed into a different one. Which was just a wee bit scary, too.

Lindsey, Jessica, and Mickles are called forth to the seal, then we get to watch the pimpmercial, which features entirely too much ConstantCreep, too much Mickles, too much Carrie, whose face was all "what is this thing y'all call dancing and will I go to hell for it?" and not nearly enough Bo, damnit. In leather pants..oh, sorry. Actually, that was a vast improvement over most of the pimpmercials. Boring, but an improvement in quality.

Finally, we're back, Jessica is sent back, and Ryan screws with Mickles, who then says something like "Ryan you fu---" before the mic is cut and so's the vid. I can't wait until she's booted, really. The swears that will pour forth ought to buy Fox some serious fineage.

Finally Lindsey is predictably booted, gets her Video Of Death, and does her sing-out, where she shoots the thunder and lightening from the hip in an exquisetely cheesy moment after classily shaking hands with the judges. And was it just me or did she refuse to hug Paula's mummified and Botoxed Being and insist on the handshake, like "Sorry, I don't touch overly pickled and preserved people on the first date."

I am tempted to watch Paris and Nicole get attacked by ducks, but you know, I just can't bring myself to do it...

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Welcome to the '60s! (Except for you, Lindsay, Anthony and Carrie, you just stay right in the '70s and we won't mention it at all, will we?)
by spacecitymarc

So here we are, as the finals kick off with a typically self-congratulatory "They're becoming the most famous faces on your screen, and you put them there" from Ryan. I swear, this show is so far up its own ass that it's come out its own mouth again.

Last week on a little blog some of us put together, I subtitled my results show posting "We have the monkeys, we just need to teach them to dance." As if in response, Ryan uses the [product-placed cola] pre-show interview to force Bo and Two Cats Fucking to twist. Shout-out! Interestingly, the finalists all start singing (or "singing," since they clearly don't know the words) "Let's Twist Again" instead of "The Twist," which is fine, because it's actually a better song, falling into the great tradition of early '60s sequel songs that were superior to the originals (see also: Gore, Leslie – "Judy's Turn To Cry").

So in the words of one of the great sages of our time, let's rock this thing!

Jessica Sierra, "Shop Around." This is the first week that my opinion of her hasn't improved by leaps and bounds. I agree with Simon: not as strong as she's been, but otherwise fine. During the chorus, she sounds really good on the low notes, which can't be said of a lot of the women in this competition.

Anwar Robinson, "A House Is Not A Home." Good, but also lacking when compared to past performances. Randy falls prey to the trap of the mediocre critic by judging Anwar based on what Randy thinks he should do, rather than what he's actually doing.

K-Lah, "Son Of A Preacher Man." Her lower range is really weak, and she lives there for a huge chunk of the song. Plus, she has weird pronunciation issues. Is this how the Fantasia-haters felt? Still, once she got out of her lower register it was probably her best so far.

Two Cats Fucking, "You've Made Me So Very Happy." He actually sings the whole thing, with notes and pitches and everything (except for that last, horrible note, which Paula loves), and he gets a tongue bath simply for not sucking the way he usually does. Feh.

Lindsay Cardinale, "Knock On Wood." I get excited, because the Eddie Floyd original is the song that I'd totally do on Soul night, but then they piss me off by doing the disco version. Part of me assumes that that's because the band just isn't good enough to pull of Booker T. and the MGs. A shame, really, because I think that she might have been able to kick ass on the Stax arrangement. Not a great vocal, but not horrid like some of the others. The pan across her family and friends shows a woman who looks a hell of a lot like her who seems to be wearing a slip as a top. So maybe wardrobe, like prettiness, is genetic. Ryan, switching up this "you" that he seems to be talking to, tells the audience and Lindsay simultaneously, "I think you have to remember when you're watching that the 60s theme isn't the easiest for some of you guys, because these are new songs to you." Which, obviously, since Lindsay didn't even really do the theme. But also, isn't the fact that they aren't familiar with a whole world of popular music, a world which isn't exactly hidden in the shadows and swamps, a problem? I mean, at least Bo knows the songs he's performing.

Anthony Federov, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do." He interviews that he connects "spiritually and vocally" to the song. How in God's name do you connect spiritually to "Breaking Up"? He takes a cue from Lindsay and does a yawnworthy soft rock rendition that starts on a stool so that, you guessed it, he can stand up for dramatic effect. Drink! I think his problem is that he oversings everything; even when he's not blindly powering through, he's articulating the notes and words too much. Uch.

Nadia Turner, "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me." Looks like Tamyra, but she's awesome, the best of the night. Nadia, I've noticed, tends to sing without a lot of the bullshit that so many of the others deliver by the [product-placed car]-load.

Bo Bice, "Spinning Wheel." I think David Clayton-Thomas is who I've been trying to find for the past few weeks to compare Bo to. This was perfect for his voice, and if the performance wasn't as mind-blowing as he's been, he just did what he needed to do this week, I think.

Vonzell Solomon, "Anyone Who Had a Heart." I'm still not wowed by her; I think that the higher notes are somewhat outside of her register, and she hit a bad last note. But wow, she looks and sounds exactly like a girl-group singer. All she needs is two shorter girls in the same dress on either side of her. So that earns some affection from me right there.

Scott Savol, "Ain't Too Proud To Beg." Horrible stage presence (at least he's not trying to dance), but a strong vocal that kept him from looking like an idiot in comparison to George Huff's asskickery last year. What's with the Marines in the front row? And were there no "family and friends," or did I just miss it?

Carrie Underwood, "When Will I Be Loved." She too avoids the theme by doing the Linda Ronstadt version rather than the Everly Brothers original. She's shakier here than she's been so far, which is weird, because she's usually a much better singer than this. Special dislike for her makeup, which eliminates her facial features entirely.

Nikko Smith, "I Want You Back." Ha! At least he has a sense of humor about the whole thing, singing, "Oh, baby, all I need is one more chance." He puts in a decent mid-level vocal performance. The question is whether it was strong enough for him to avoid being the first man voted out, which is what he needs to escape being this year's Leah LaBelle.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Spread The Word - Be Obnoxious!
by Wandering Snark

I know we all are stellar at being obnoxious, so howsabout puttin it to a bit of use?

So amigos, as the show goes to 'finals' mode I too hope we can increase our crowd numbers, but without as much neon and plasma involved of course.

Anyhow, when you read the boards this week if you see something you like from someone please take a moment and drop them a note and invite them by to read or even better join in. I'm going to be sending out some more messages today and if you can send a couple on our behalf that would be cool. That's my last obnoxious pandering I swear, unless nobody listens to me of course! Heh.

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The AI Top Twelve: Now With More Nikko!
by Swoopin

I was all set with my popcorn, expecting, for some idiotic reason, to see Mehrio be given a big send-off. Instead, Ryan says he's gone, good luck, and Nikko's back. That was extremely anti-climactic.

Pro and Con are egged on by Sprinkles to do The Twist. Constantlymugging? Twists like a girl. Bo is way better. Big surprise.

Jessica: Smokey's "Shop Around" is a good choice for her, and I thought the judges were way too hard on her. She was off here and there, but when she was on, she had a nice tone. Needs to work on using the stage more, and she definitely needs some better clothes.

Anwar: Dear Roman, please burn all copies of "A House Is Not A Home", which is boring and stupid and I am so very, very tired of hearing it on AI. Thanks. There were some icky notes there, which surprised me, but I thought there were also some nice nuances and he didn't just glory note through it. And I loved the long coat.

Mickles: My notes say "Ye Gods and Little Fishes" and really, I think that says it all.

ConstantCramp: "You Made Me So Very Happy." Well well. Look who came out to play? It's our Conservatory-trained Theatre Rat. This was not anywhere near awesome and the last note was rank, but who knew he could actually...sing. I do wish he'd stop with the Morrison thing though--it's so obvious. Simon says something about "smouldering idol" and I'm thinking "only if I can douse him down and strike the match and tend the bonfire."

Lindsey: Manages to make Kimberme's version of "Knock on Wood" good. Which is not good, if you know what I mean. And since when is the disco version okay for 60's night? Too much squatting, too boring, too cheesy. I didn't think it was as awful as the judges did, but it was totally mediocre.

Aphid--well, if people are going to call him "A-Fed" then I'm going to spell it how I see it--a big white blob of meh. He's singing the remake of Sedaka's "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," which is not the 60's version, so he gets points off. And he's sitting on The Stool, so points off. But vocally, this wasn't nearly as awful as the judges said--one rank note and he adjusted his pitch on the last glory note. What it was was totally cheesy and boring. And look, he's de-Claying and showed that he's got some biceps! Told ya.

Nadia: I am nearly positive I wore that dress in '68 (shut UP, yes I am that old). She's the first one who dressed the decade. I love "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" and I was liking this okay until about half-way, when her neck tendons started to pop and she started to strain on the upper notes. And she was also flat on the last note--and out of air.

Bo: *Fangirl alert*--Leather pants. Leather pants! Totally visable knife tat. Growly baritone. Lots of testosterone. I was nearly dead before he started, then I realized he was singing "Spinning Wheel," which I lurve, so excuse me but there was some eeeeee-ing in my living room. I think he feels lost without a guitar in his hands, but he rocked this pretty well--not as good as "Whipping Post" but here's someone who could give lessons in how to command an audience.

Vonzell: Okay, first, she looked great--very Lead Vocalist in a girl group. "Anyone Who Had a Heart" is a bitch to sing and better singers than her have tanked with it. I thought her lower register was a little light and weak, and the last note definitely was not good, but overall, I'd say this was more than competent. But she needs a breakout performance--she's reminding me of K-Lo right now.

Scott: George Huff did "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" so much better--this was vocally solid, and he's less cheesy and the boxy jacket is good on him. Nice move into the falsetto. I thought he was a little out of breath here and there.

Carrie: "When Will I Be Loved" is an Everly Brothers song--so naturally she sang the Linda Ronstadt country-fried version. She has the stage presence of a dead newt. She has no personality. She is technically proficient and she leaves me fighting to stay awake. And she slaps her ass, which I hate. Very Carmen--only Carmen, Roman love her, had more stage presence.

Nikko: Does the Jackson Five's "I Want You Back." I want him back--he gets a break for lack of prep time. Vocally not awesome--he was seriously out of breath in spots and Nikko? Back away from the crotch thing. I mean, look where that got Wacko Jacko--and possibly Mehrio, hee. Anyway, he had energy and it was fun to watch, and considering he probably had all of two days to practice at most, it wasn't bad.

Out: probably Lindsey, who has no personality.
Should be out: Mickles, who has no vocal ability.
Biggest surprise: ConstantCreep
Top three: Bo, Nadia, and (tie) Conman and Vonzell.

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The New Stage Is A Small Dark Little Cave
by Wandering Snark

The new stage/set is, in one word ‘siezuretastic’. It’s like actually being inside the new computer intro. Those two giant microphone type columns made of neon with the revolving ‘American Idol’ script on them? I’ll call them the AI Revolvutrons™ and they are [Simon] Ghastly [/Simon]. Somewhere a Vegas casino owner is saying ... ‘Okay, that’s just too much neon, too many spotlights and too many plasma displays. How tacky.’

Pauler today looks like she’s just come in off the set of a ‘teen’ porn movie where tired old 28 y.o. ‘stars’ but on catholic girl school skirts and pretend they just turned 18.

Monkio Fezquez - I really didn’t think it would come to this so soon but... I said good day! Heh. I wonder if it has something to do with his looking like Craggle that led him naturally to this result. Maybe it’s the hair?

Jessica Sierra This performance got better as the night went on but as the first out of the gate I thought it sounded good but was a bit blah. It probably ended up being in the top four actually, will voters remember?

Anward And Upward Again, a bit safe/boring but improved dramatically as the night progressed. He looked almost as smooth as he sounded tonight and though it was lost on the judges I liked that it wasn’t belted or overly ornamented.

It appears that it is true that when women work together their cycles sync with each other 'cause Randy and Pauler have some serious PMS rolling. Randy is actually far more obnoxious than Simon tonight.

Meeeekalah speaks in what I’d assume is 90% her voice, 10% BabsDrescher and then goes on to sing with almost the same lack of put on LawnGUYland affect... just as I say ‘maybe I don’t hate her anymore’ she can’t hold it back any longer and is 100% BabsDrescher by the end of the song... and her responses to the judges, audience, soundmen, the neon, whoever or whatever will listen to her is the height of annoying. She at least doesn’t look scary, though she still looks like a 50 y.o. Medford, Mass housewife which is a bit unsettling since she is 16 afterall.

ConstantCabaret There’s the BroadwayBoy we all know is just dying to spring forth from under his ‘rocker’ schtick like an Alien through his stomach. What would make me so very happy? A. Button your shirt. B. Stop eyefucking us all without protection as we all know you won’t even give us cabfare. C. Go home.

Simon refers to him as a frontrunner to win ‘Smothering Idol’ and I am lost in a little fantasy scenario involving a pillow and ConstantCreed’s smug face. I then realize he actually said ‘Smoldering Idol’. Either way I’ll be happy to volunteer to snuff out his flame for good.

Listen people, it’s not Lindsey’s fault, she actually was brave to go on at all. She has a rare allergy to prolonged exposures of large amounts off plasma and neon. I hear it is hell on her vocal chords.

Nadia Gives us all a ‘gateway’ S/M shout out with the flowing silk scarf tied around her wrist attaching to her skirt... very nice, singin ain't bad either. For a second there I noticed she looks just like Marian Jones the Olympic runner.

BO RULES! Holy shit people... Most people stood on that stage and you could hear them saying to themselves ‘Oh gahd, where can I hide?’ Bo came out and thought “Wow, look at all of the places where I can shine on this stage!” It was almost like: “What a blast, check this place out! I can run over here and kick ass, I can run over there and kick ass, check it out, how hilarious is this catwalk thing? Let me sing over here, no I think I’ll perform over there!” Awesome. I think btw that he carries the mic stand because he feels wierd not having his guitar in hand...

Scott, Nikko and Vonzelle were all passable if more in line for the Fernando School of Music Idol where it is better to look good than to sound good, and dahrling these three look maaahhhhhvalous!!

Carrie Judge Reverse Psychologywood - Tonight she was so disconnected, it was like she’s become CountryBot 1.0; she was singing behind that pane of glass that DiBot must have willed to her as successor. I think the judges reverse psychologied her comments so her fans would vote thinking she was in trouble.

As long as it’s not Jessica, Anwar or Bo I don’t care who goes though. Given he had no time to prepare I hope Nikko gets another shot but it won't kill me if he doesn't.

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