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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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Thinning The Herd: one blonde country singer down, one to go...
by Swoopin

So Ryan starts us off, as usual, by telling us that, sadly, "we have to lose someone." So how are we going to do that, exactly? Play hide-n-go-seek and not yell "ollie ollie ox in free"? Lead them blindfolded into a corn maze and then run like hell? Sheesh. And why is he wearing a dress shirt without any kind of undershirt under it? Ick.

Paula claps like a freaking seal, people. "Yay, I'm not in jail yet!"

Our third Choice For Charity is the godawful, cheesetastic "Everything Is Beautiful." Well it would be if they'd stop singing this song. My ears, people. And look, Constantine defiantly kicks toward something. "Yo, here's a beautiful kick in the head"? I wish he'd fall on his ass doing that. Better, I wish Vonzell would give him some lessons.

Someone asked why Carrie is the only one who looks comfortable during these group sings. Because Carrie is the only one who's dorky enough to think this is actually fun. She was doing that arm wave thing too. Meanwhile, some poor girl in the audience is drooling on her neighbor and trying hard to count the rhythm and failing spectacularly.

We interupt this recap to state, for the record, that that weirdo hoyay Burger King King? Is the creepiest creep that ever creeped.

I have nothing to say about that Pimpmercial except thanks for the nightmares. Really, giant muppets? Was that necessary?

Even the contestants are looking pretty "whoa, if we'd have known THAT..."

So can we get to the Bottom 3 already? Because I have a life, I tell ya.

Nikko, Constantine, Carrie, and Bo are all safe. And in the exact same spots as last week. Say hello to your Top 4, folks.

Loved Bo's eyebrow wiggle. Heh. Still hating the Bovine Chapeau from last night, though, and so very glad it didn't make another appearance.

Nadia being on the Seal is kind of shocking. I don't care for her, and I didn't either like or hate last night's performance, but there were worse people than her last night. But Simon basically said not to vote for her, so there she is.

Jessica being there is also not a surprise because Simon said it was okay not to like her.

Scott gets mind-fucked again. Someday, Ryan is going to really regret that because Scott is going to reach out with all ten of those sausage-sized finger on those ham-sized hands of his and throttle the bejeebus out of him.

Anwar hit the seal because AnPhoney almost cried last night. That's the only reason, I promise. Although Anwar also sucked ostrich eggs last night and deserved to be there. And to be sent packing.

Nadia goes back to the couch, and Anwar looks a wee bit surprised by that.

And to no one's surprise, Jessica, who so totally did not deserve this, gets the boot. Because Simon said "don't like her."

I can't wait until they try to market Carrie as a country singer, folks. Not in a million years will she succeed. Jessica, however, would have, I think. And hopefully still will.

Our condolences to Spacecitymarc.

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Anonymous thinning sez:

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

There's Something About The Way You Sang Tonight...
by Swoopin

Some day, those doors are going to malfunction and Ryan is going to be squashed in them, waving an arm with his mic attached, his face all squooshed up. And I will, I'm sorry to say, laugh my ass off.

Oh, the 90's? This was the best these people could come up with for music from the 90's?

Worse, I realize as the night goes on that 6 of these people have sung exactly what I expected them to sing, or at least the artist I expected.

And tonight's theme is: define karaoke.

We start with Bo singing The Black Crowes' "Remedy," and while I like the pants and the shirt, I am totally hating that hat, so Paula can have it, although I think the occasional hat in general looks kind of *cough* cute on him. But not faux bovine. "Moo-ved"--hee. Not his best performance, really--okay vocally, but he seemed not really into it all that much and wasn't selling it like he usually does. A step backward, but not awful.

Oh and Simon? I'm pretty sure most people don't want this song played at their wedding.

Jessica meets predictable by coming out country and singing the most boring Leann Rimes song ever, "On The Side of Angels." There is absolutely nothing wrong with her singing, but the song's so meh I really don't care. I had mentally assigned a different Leann Rimes song to her.

Anwar. I just knew the minute I heard 90's that he was going to sing this, and I thought, "well, good choice for him." Except oddly, it wasn't. He sang it exactly like I thought he would, starting low and slow and building it up to a big ass glory note. Yawn. The first part was weak--not pitchy, really, but the notes were undercooked. Randy and Simon were, for once, right on target. He needs to work on singing the whole song.

Then I said to Mr. Swoop for my 2nd song pick of the night, "And now Nadia is going to sing 'I'm the Only One' you know." And he said ten seconds later, "How do you do that?" After 4 years of this shit, you just know.

I really have nothing constructive or destructive to say about her performance, though. It just sat there, quivering like a blob of tapioca pudding--contained, safe, and bland as hell. And throwing the mic stand down? Af-fect-ed.

I cannot take any Kreskin-like credit for Constantsheen singing "I Can't Make You Love Me," though. Because never in a million years...okay, well, the last note was flat by a generous half step, I thought, and there is a nasally quality to his tone that I just find as icky as his constant eye-rapes and camera mugging. *shudders* I was highly entertained by Randy basically calling him a poser, though, and commenting on his musical theatre training. Ha. And Simon, after commenting on how he's played to his target audience and done the pop star thing, says he sang better than Bo tonight and officially declares the Rawker Rivalry deader than Ryan's overprocessed hair. Conman, who can't compete in that area, has been assigned a new box--the one recently inhabited by A-Fed. See below.

Nikko props his dad for the first time since the auditions in his intro, wears a jacket that gives me a serious headache, and sings a song I'm pretty sure I've never heard. I'm finding his voice annoying as hell tonight too, and there was definitely one series of notes in there that was not anywhere near good, but the breath control seems better and I still find him an engaging performer. Paula has a lucid moment and calls him "most improved." I agree.

Ah, A-Fed. I was sure he was going to sing something else, maybe "Living in America" (was that a 90's song?) so I was sorry I was wrong about the Elton John. I see he's finally ditched the glasses he never needed to begin with, and that acidy neon green shirt is all kinds of ugly. Eeww. I also thought the judges were way too harsh on this. His lower register was better, he didn't go flat, and I liked the rocked up arrangement of the song. I could tell he was really forcing the lower notes to come through, but it worked with the arrangement, and to be honest, even though I hate him, I thought this was one of the better jobs tonight, although he doesn't have much stage presence either. So naturally Simon and Randy crapped all over him, and I thought for a minute he was going to cry--he clearly has reached the point where he's trying too hard to please the judges and do what they want, so if he's reading here, some advice: do what you want. Fuck the judges. Just get into your song, dude. And leave the glasses home. Way better without them.

Speaking of Carrie-okie, which I will be shortly, I get song number 3 right! Go me! So Carrie's idea of "performing" apparently involves zombie walking from the back of the stage to the front while singing Martina and staring at everyone with her dead eyes. She has no charisma, no "It", and all the pimping on the planet is not going to give her any. And I'll admit I haven't heard "Independence Day" in a while, but that sounded like an exact replica of it, except for the flat last note and the bad ones in the middle. Like something you'd hear in a *cough* karaoke bar on Free Beer Until Someone Pees night.

But it's Scott (song prediction #4! Woo!) who gets the karaoke label hung around his neck. "One Last Cry" was what I would have picked for him too, though, but he's not doing well with it--the usual transitions into the really upper reaches of his register aren't as smooth as usual to start, and at least one falsetto note cracked like a rotten egg. This wasn't his best vocal, which is too bad. He should have killed on this song. And he has got to stop the cheesy gesturing.

And so Vonzell gets the Prime Pimp Real Estate of the night, and I realize that the Nadia love affair with the producers is officially over. I told Mr. Swoop "here comes the Whitney." He replied, "Jesus, she looks awesome. And I have to say, she looked awesome. I also thought this was the only really good performance of the night--pitch perfect, nicely delivered. In another era, Vonzell would have made an excellent torch singer. Oh, and Simon? This is what It looks like. It does not look like a dead-eyed copy cat country singer. It means the person can stand and sing and every eye is riveted on her, not wondering if they need to clear their earwax out.

In my perfect world, someone on AI will do "Lime in the Coconut" someday, and I'll dial my fingers raw for it.

The top three for me tonight is a stretch--Vonzell, and then I'd say A-Fed and either Carrie or Nikko. Put Bo in the top half, and Nadia.

But I think A-Fed is bottom 3 again, along with Scott and Jessica, who will get the boot for being the most unmemorable of them all and because Simon told everyone it was okay not to like her. Which a lot of people don't.

But the real bottom three should be Anwar, Scott, Jessica. And Scott, who delivered the worst performance of the night, should return to Cleveland.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Children of the 90's
by wasimmerdude

The 90's, eh? Way to keep the theme as ridiculously broad as possible, TPTB, thus allowing everyone to stay in their convenient little boxes. Blech.

Once again, the utter disgust and loathing with which I view Paula came to the fore tonight. She's absolutely worthless, and makes me write down horrible things while I take my notes. It's so mean, I hate it. But I hate her more.

Bo: Dude, what's with the hat? Ugh. It looked horrible. While Bo's a good showman and I think he's great, his voice was shaky. He sounded sharp at times, and he didn't have the greatest control. Vocally, he's not terribly impressive, but he's definitely having a lot of fun. I especially love how he crawled across the judges' desk. But, bottom line is that his voice wasn't strong. This song, however, did have some great growly and yelly parts to help him cover that up. Ultimately, though, I still love the guy. He's such a great performer and always has such fun. His "mooved" joke was horrible, though. He's either a giant dork or just stoned.

Simon and Ryan are now flicking each other's ears. They're so having sex.

Jessica: I love her, and think she's beautiful. She looks great in her pre-song interviewlet. Her opening notes were beautiful. Her key change was a bit scary, but eventually she settled into it. I love her voice and her wonderful achy tone. She infuses such emotion into her songs, it's so interesting and entertaining. I'm unfamiliar with the song, and while her performance was perfectly pleasant, I'm afraid it might be boring or forgettable. I love her and her voice, and hope she stays, though I wouldn't be surprised if she were to leave.

Anwar: I must start off by saying that I absolutely HATE this cheesy song. Unfortunately, Anwar did nothing to make me like it. His tone was very shaky at the beginning of the song, and I still don't like his overdone vibrato. Whoa, extreme close-up. It looks like he's wearing shiny lip gloss or something. Heh. He stares way too creepily into the camera. His notes are scoopy. I don't like his melismas and jumps. His voice and tone just sounds thin, and he sounds sharp on the chorus. I hate when the contestants resort to belting to try to salvage the song, and of course the audience goes absolutely batshit crazy. Ugh. For once, I think Randy's spot on with his criticism. Paula should just shut the hell up. She's SO rude, interrupting people all the time. My GOD, she's a stupid woman.

Nadia: Wow, your hair. Thanks for the history thereof. Pff. I really like her lower register and her beginning. She sounds strong and determined. Her faces are a bit scary, though. I feel like she wants to come to my window and slap me. I was a bit torn by her choruses, since they didn't sound as strong as they should have been. She loses that wonderful growly tone that she has in the verses. Her second chorus was actually much better than her first. Much more raw and harsh-sounding. Overall, a great performance. Again, Randy was spot on with his comments. Sometimes he's great, sometimes he's horrible.

Constantine: I was folding my laundry while watching the show, and didn't bother to stop to watch Constantine's performance. I only listened, and thought he wasn't too bad. His voice and tone are annoyingly nasal and he always sounds sharp, and his vibrato is horrible and forced, but at least he was on key. He did a fine job with this song. But I still hate him and want him to get the boot.

Nikko: His verses were a bit shaky since his lower register isn't terribly strong, but I loved his first chorus. I would have hoped that he would have sung it again, rather than doing all of the little flourishes and melismatics at the end. I love Nikko's somewhat whiny (and I mean that in a good way) tone, since it works so well for the songs he picks.

Anthony: Hmm. Without his glasses, he looks even more like he's 12 years old. He seems to sound more and more foreign with each week. I actually liked his performance, but as a whole his voice always sounds forced and strained. I hate his vibrato, since it just sounds so theatrical and fake. Nice screamy notes at the end, but it might have been a bit much. Simon SO wants Anthony gone, it's incredible. And, Paula really needs to stop interrupting him all the time. It's so ridiculously rude.

Carrie: Man, I think Carrie's absolutely beautiful. She also sounds a bit ditzy in her interviewlet. She has nice hair tonight. Her tone is very solid, pretty, and clean. Her choruses sound like they might be off, but there's no way to hear her above the insane background singers. She's nice and belty, but sounds off tonight. Either way, she's gorgeous.

Scott: All of his old jobs had to do with food. Hee! I LOVE One Last Cry. But Scott sounds shaky and pitchy. I do love his falsetto, which sounds so pure and easy for him.
His shirt looks horrible. He looks like he's wrapped to be placed in the oven. I love his tone, and his beautiful falsetto. I love this song, but maybe it's a bit boring. And, Paula? You don't need his song to sway back and forth, you already have your drugs. Blech.

Vonzelle: I LOVE her. She's so adorable. She looks great, and sounds even better. Her voice is very strong, and her beginning is wonderful. Her choruses are amazing, and her tone is so beautiful and urgent. Her melisma on the third "nothing" is shaky, and of course they highlight that in the review at the end. Pah. Randy, once again, is right; she just keeps getting better and better each week. Paula, once again, makes absolutely no sense. Ugh.

As a whole, a decent week.

Who I think should be bottom three: Anwar, Constantine, Anthony
Who I think will be bottom three: Jessica, Anthony, Scott
Who should go home: Anwar
Who probably will go home: Jessica

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I Loathe the 90s
by Adam

I had long wanted the show to roll with a 1990s theme; no longer is that the case. Of all the songs the contestants could have picked, they ended up rehashing FOUR that had been performed on the show before. Yuck. Anyway, I was less than impressed this week. I'll ramble from best to worst in my book...

1. Vonzell "I Have Nothing" Well, it seems like one of my favorite contestants sings "I Have Nothing" every year so I shouldn't be surprised. As always, classy, stylish, and so gorgeous. The song choice really disappointed me but still she sang it very well and I did enjoy the high notes tremendously -the last one was pristine. Still loving her.

2. Nikko "Can We Talk" Ooh, he sensed vote erosion so he played the Ozzie Smith daddy baseball card! Did Joan Rivers sing this song? Oh wait, it's T.E.V.I.N. Campbell. Hee! He really is improving leaps and bounds - everything was awesome 'cept the closing long note.

*chasm* The above two are the only ones I can say I really "liked."

3. Carrie "Independence Day" Did she dye her tongue GREEN to match her shirt? It's interesting that Simon broke out some of the others being karaoke because Carrie Xeroxed Martina's original. She still sounded good and thankfully she didn't SMILE during a song about domestic violence and burning stuff down but she wasn't nearly as good as last week.

4. Nadia "I'm The Only One" certainly got herself in gear after the *ass*ass*ination of "Time After Time" last week. Hated throwing the mic stand down and it seems like I can see her wheels turning more and more instead of her connecting with the song and the audience but nonetheless, it was a good vocal.

5. Bo "Remedy" was good but he's lucky that the themes are more broad this year. I still like him but I've not been "wowed" (help me, I sound like Randy) in quite some weeks and dude? Just say no to crawling all over the judges' desk-ette.

6. Jessica "On The Side of Angels" I'm one of the few who dislikes Boobica Lisperra but I'll give her very being very vanilla tonight. And is it just me or does anyone else hear a little bit of goat coming through (is it excess vibrato?) because Lawd help me, I was reminded of Carmen a tiny bit.

7. Anwar "I Believe I Can Fly" Paula is reaching new levels of intoxication; I'm surprised the lights from the stage didn't ignite her full proof vodka breath. Furthermore, I had no idea that song was called "I Can Believe I Can Fly." The beginning of the performance was very unsteady but then the belting began, and he sounded great. Very wobbly was he indeed...

8. Anthony "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" His voice is gaining more and more of his Ukranian heritage and it is odd sounding - he just continues to slide down a slippery slope. He sounded like a four year old in his intro too.

9. ConstantFleaRiddenDirtBag "I Can't Make You Love Me" OH NO YOU DIN'T! Step the eff off K Lo (oh and Bonnie Raitt). Yeah, he was in tune and everything but I felt like he was singing to linoleum tiles or something. HATE. The judges are beyond hope.

10. Scott "One Last Cry" His falsetto was HORRID to my ears. Paula you can't sing so of course, you didn't hear "pitchy." Scott should apologize to Brian McKnight immediately. I hope Scott's gone this week.

In conclusion, someone stage an intervention for Paula. Now. Thanks. The pills and booze that are flowing through her veins are just inumberable.

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AI4 or the bottom of a Chamber Pot?
by Phan

It's hardly worth really commenting on any of the performances tonight, since they were all so meh really. Being able to view the Canadian version this year has spoiled me I guess. So I'll attempt to sum up each of them in a word.

Bo: Awkward.
Jessica: Forgetable.
Anwar: Frightening (since I literally said what Randy did as Anwar was singing).
Nadia: Rangeless.
Constantine: Better.
Nikko: Confusing.
Anthony: Yawn.
Carrie: Good.
Scott: Whatever.
Vonzell: Great.

Top Two: Vonzell, Carrie

Good-bye To: It's either Anthony or Jessica and... I'd say Jessica, though I don't agree with that.

Predicted Bottom 3: Anwar will be 3rd, Anthony will scrape through at 2nd, and Jessica will recieve the boot.

Also, if anyone can email HappyCamper, could you send the following (for the
Fantasy Game, don't cha know?) from me, Phan:

Folks before the 1st in Bottom 3 is announced: Three
Who goes back to the couch: Anwar
Who stays on the seal: Jessica
Who goes home: Anthony

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Blogger Adam sez:

Phan, I'm THINKING that I know the email that happycamper left on the post and I'm going to try to send mine now. I'll send yours as well but I'm not 110% sure I remembered the alternate email for when TWoP goes down that was given for the fantasy game.

Blogger Phan sez:

Thanks Adam, much appreciated.

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Personal Note to My Retreat Amigos...
by Wandering Snark

Just wanted to say I'm not blowing everyone off, but am taking the week off, as I said last week this is a tough week for me to take a light and fun/snarky approach to anything really. Of course I'm just posting this here for y'all... I won't be around TWoP though. I will be seeing everyone next week.

I've put together a back-dated post that won't show on the front page here, but if you'd care to see a personal tribute to my dad that'd be cool.

Take care everyone.

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Blogger Adam sez:

Hey guy, I understand it must be a very difficult time of the year for you and your family. I wish you peace and comfort and your words about cherishing the time you have with loved ones were so true. God bless you and yours.

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Why I hate this show, and yet I still watch....
by uagirl

Tonight’s theme? The 90’s. Seriously could this be any broader. Same lame intro where they go back stage and Ryan fake announces it. 90’s recollections from the people, oh what fun, except not.

Bo: Dude the hat. Why? Is he trying to steal Vonzelle’s cowboy look? I did like how he put it on Paula. I thought it was o.k. For sure his weakest performance. And then Paula goes drunkenly waving the stupid hat. Ugg. The problem for Simon is really that Bo is not Carrie.

Jessica: Sounded good. Was kind of boring though. Ooh bitchface to Simon. Ouch. Don’t wink at me girl!

Anwar: Poor sad story of the 90’s. New pose, sitting on the Bo spot. Wow, I thought he would nail this, instead it really wasn’t that good. Flat and not interesting. Shame. What a glory note, was that why the crowd goes nuts? Oh my god, Paula is so drunk, her words are so slurred.

Nadia: Wow, a lesbian anthem. Interesting….. That said, it wasn’t that good. There were for sure some notes that were WAY off.

Constantine: Do we have to? Oh GOD. What a fucking painful 1 ½ minute of my life. The brush back of the hair, the eye fuck. GROSS!!! The “voice” UGG!!! I knew if he tried to slow it down it would show how bad he sucks. Hee Randy just called him a poser. Awesome.

Nikko: This is the first time his dad has been brought up since his audition. Interesting. What is that Jacket? I don’t know this song. I thought he did a good job with it. SIT DOWN PAULA!!! Lost it at the VERY end. It was Tevin Campbell, who knew?

A-fed: OH MY GOD!!! We know you came over when you were young, it is not like you don’t remind us EVERY week. Where did the glasses go? He looks so different. And he sounded like crap until the glory note.

Carrie: Lame story. Didn’t Lindsey sing this? Am I hallucinating that? She sounded good I guess. Clapping for the band? Whatever. Simon is officially an ass, if that isn’t Karaoke than I don’t know what is. The girl only knows how to do carbon copies of songs.

Scott: I love this song. I thought he did a good job with it. I thought that Ricky did a better job back in season 2, but Scott was wonderful. Simon has not had a nice thing to say to him since his first audition.

Vonzelle: Oh. Whitney. In the pimp spot. She is so pretty. This is the best this song has sounded in the history of this show. She deserved the pimp.

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