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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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Damn, I am confused
by Swoopin

I obviously spent too much time staring at the spircles on Ryan's shirt last night because I'm all confused. Like, seriously confused.

First, they tell us to vote for our Tsunami Tsingle (tm Jacob) and then tell us what won, but hey, we're going to do all three songs anyway. So why bother?

Then Fantasia comes out. I thought she was singing "Baby Mama," but that's not what this is. I don't know what it is, although I was entertained by her name being split like some war-torn and reconfigured slavic nation on the sliding doors so that it was FANT ASIA. It doesn't take long to realize, too, that 19Evil's money hashn't been shpent on anything like enunsheation leshons. It's also clear she's still shrieking and yeah-ing her way through everything, and there was one big GASP before she yelled at the current crop of contestants to "BELIEVE OR ELSE" that I thought might have sucked all the available air out of the theatre.

Man was I glad when that was over. I was digging her boots, though.

So Fanty's advice to these people is to "act ugly." That's helpful to Scott, maybe. It was clear Bo was into it and his doing the "I'm not worthy" thing cracked me up, especially since Ryan then says in regard to the Couch Crew, "They all want to be the next American Idol" and Bo's response is a "Eh, not so much" face with dismissive shrug. Hee.

Next we get a pimp for Life on a Stick and to my everylasting amusement, KimberMe gets NO camera time. Bwah! Ruben looks like a big pimp daddy in that suit. And didn't he release a CD a few months ago? What, he can't come sing a song? Or get five seconds to pimp it out? He's reduced to craptastic Fox tv shows? I'm so confused, really.

That was the most boring Pimpmercial ever. I guess they blew the pimpmercial budget last week on the Pimp Puppets.

Oh good, here comes the elims. Excellent. I always enjoy this. So Ryan naturally confuses me by pulling down the first three people, two of whom should totally not even be there. Who the hell is voting for Aphid? And Slingblade Scott? Seriously people. Don't.

I don't understand why Vonzell is in the Bottom Three. Or Nikko, really. So very confused.

My confusion is furthered when Ryan then asks Bo how he feels about not being there. Bo says something about the "jawn-drah" and I giggle, and then nod when he says he could have done better. Then Ryan asks Aphid the same question and I'm all "oh shut up" and he's all grateful to his fans and all I can think is "well I'm not, so shut up Aphid's fans, too." Just everybody shut up.

And I'm also confused why they didn't chat it up with anyone else? Anwar? Nadia? Carrie? Constantrunningsores? Hmmm. Knoll fodder--are they worried about Bo and Aphid's fanbases? Hmmmm again.

Then in what has to be one of the stupidest exchanges ever, Paula yammers on in her druggy way about everybody should get a contract and do well and Simon says "I still think this is a competition you have to win" and Paula replies to my never-ending amusement, "Oh yes, there has to be a winner." Well yeah, because hello? That's the whole danged point of this nonsense. Uncle Nigel needs to adjust her meds, ferchrissake.

So Vonzell, thank Roman, goes back to the couch, and I'm all about Scott leaving because he so sucked last night. And he knows he sucked, and he knows he's leaving--you can see the attempts not to cry, and he looks like he's going to kill Simon first, Randy next, and then take out the entire staff of The Smoking Gun, so get outta my way Ryan. He totally knows he's going.

More harping about how not good Bo was and how ghastly Aphid was--definitely something up there, but I'm too confused to work it out right now. Especially when it's Nikko who gets the boot and Scott, for the love of all that is good and right in the world, people, SCOTT, is safe.

Awww. I'm so confused.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

My Sucktastic Valentine
by Swoopin

Note to Ryan if you're reading here: sweetie, your sweater should not match the set. Or look like it was designed by a child with a spirograph. And tuck in your damned shirt.

I was SO looking forward to this. Really, I'm a huge theatre geek, I've been in dozens of musicals, and I've waited for Broadway Night on AI for 4 seasons now. So what do I get?

I get The Suck. Figures. Damn you, top nine, damn you to hell!

SCOTT: "Impossible Dream," Man of La Mancha--I liked the little R&B licks, but hated the way the song was cut and man is he sharp or what through most of this (my suspicions are confirmed with the reruns at the end, where he's in the right key). And that last note? Jeebus. Totally slipped off the pitched, warbled it around, threw it on the ground and stomped it. Bad, bad, bad, and no passion.

CONMAN: "My Funny Valentine," Babes in Arms--eeww, this is a horrible idea because he's going to, he's going to, he is totally smarming this up, my GOD, the eye-fucking. Someone finally out does Guacs. Nice glory note, missed the last one, and half of America is now pregnant and in need of a morning after pill. And Lawdy the pimping! Crimeny.

CARRIE: "Hello Young Lovers," The King and I--she's completely off the waltz tempo and behind the whole way through this, and she is also flat at the end. So here's my take on Carrie, for whatever it might be worth: she is solid, cold, dull, and disengaged, and every note is always copied--"I listened to the song over and over and over." She will never, ever be anything more than a very competent cover artist. Never, no matter how much Simon pushes her. She can't do anything even remotely original with a song.

VONZELL: "People," Funny Girl--some pitch problems in her lower register with this, but the high notes sound good, which makes her sound really uneven to me overall, but I thought she interpreted the song well. I'd put this in the top three tonight, in fact.

A-FED: "Climb Every Mountain," The Sound of Music--I would have voted for this IF he'd have worn the nun habit. This was like something I'd hear in my dentist's waiting room, and frankly, I'd rather have my teeth drilled sans novacaine than to ever have to listen to this again. Just, no. But I'll give him props for one thing: he at least tried to do something with it other than sing a note-for-note cover. It just didn't work for me.

NIKKO: "One Hand, One Heart," West Side Story--I wish he'd enunciate just a little better and sing a little less through his nose. Weak at the start, but got better, and I actually didn't mind it. Tough to tackle a duet like that, but he did it.

Time out: didn't that dude in the Burger King ad's mother ever warn him about taking high fat, high cal breakfast sandwiches from strange kings at the window? I thought not. Seriously, I'm starting to get a real pedophile vibe from that ad and it's creeping me right the fuck out.


ANWAR: "If Ever I Would Leave You," Camelot--known as "Camelsnot" when I was in it. Hee. Sorry, just had to share. Uhm, it was exactly what I thought it would be. Good, not fandamntastic or anything. I enjoyed it, but wouldn't cry if I never heard it again.

BO: "Corner of the Sky," Pippin--I was waiting for the disaster with this, but, it wasn't bad. He did dub the words right at the beginning, and I'll never claim this was great, but I think he survived it fine. I think it might have worked better with a slower arrangement, though--it seemed just a little too cheddaresque with that more uptempo arrangement. Good enough, I thought.

NADIA: "As Long As He Needs Me," Oliver--is not a song about true love, and it's not a song about scary mad faces. Clever of her to avoid the high sustained notes at the end by just cutting them right off. But I thought it made the end of the song suck because it took away all the impact. Blah.

So, to summarize: I hated everyone pretty much on some level, and as long as Bo and Vonzell aren't in the bottom three, I don't give a damn who goes. However, for form's sake:

Bottom three: A-Fed, Scott, and Carrie (because of the serious tempo problems). Toss up between Scott and A-Fed, but my guess is A-Fed's fan base won't prop him up again.

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Monday, April 04, 2005

And then there were nine (Or, Once upon a time there was light in my life, now there's only love in the dark)
by spacecitymarc

I am disconsolate. Not even a puppetastic pimpmercial for which there are no words can quell the anguish deep in the pit of my being. Jessica was my star, my light, my everything, and now she is gone. Gone! If I should ever refer to "the best female singer still in the competition" from here on out, note that it will be entirely by default.

This fucking blows.

Ryan tries to ease the pain by saying, "This is why it's tough, everybody's good." And… no, Ryan. Some people suck. Jessica does not. But Anthony and 2Cats live on. Was this really necessary to balance out the universe after the result of this week's awesometacular Amazing Race? Because this is just cruel, man.

And so now the awesome bit I was going to share with you about the group sing on "Everything Is Beautiful" and how if they were going to do a Ray Stevens song for the Red Cross, why not just go for "It's Me Again, Margaret" and be done with it? is shot to hell.


Are you surprised by the bottom two, Paula? "I'm very surprised." Lady, you're surprised by butter.

Nope, still doesn't help.

How about this: when Pamela Anderson dies, do you think those things will go in the Smithsonian?

Nothing. I feel nothing inside. This is how some of you felt about Judd Harris, isn't it?

I miss my Jessiebear.


(eventually composes self)

Why cry for Jessica?, someone asked. My tears are entirely selfish. I just wanted to watch and hear her sing for a few more weeks. I know enough about 19E to be happy that she's not as trapped as whoever will win this thing. But certainly the longer she stuck around, the more leverage she would have in building her own career. Because, as I've said throughout this entire process, that's the entire point behind the argument that the singers who got no exposure before the voting rounds were at a disadvantage. I'm not arguing that here, though; Jessica got six weeks to show what she could do (seven if you count the last "Hollywood" episode). And in those six weeks, she gave us:
  • One jaw-dropper that I'll remember for years ("The Boys Are Back In Town")
  • One simply exceptional performance ("Broken Wing")
  • One excellent salvage job of a disastrous arrangement, ending with The Look* ("Total Eclipse Of The Heart")
  • One subtly excellent performance of a song that didn't have any flashy tricks to keep her out of the bottom three ("Shop Around"), and
  • Two songs that I can barely remember but that she didn't even come close to embarrassing herself on because she actually sang them ("Against All Odds" and this week's song, the name of which I'm suddenly unsure of)

Ironically, I think what most people remembered was that they couldn't remember her, and the last three songs listed above became her calling card instead of the first three.

But you're right. She made the tour, she made the album and she got a month and a half to show the public, and perhaps more importantly the music industry, what she can do. I have no doubt that she'll keep at it. She's clearly talented, and if it's only raw talent at this point, let's consider the fact that she's only 19. She gets experience under her belt and works her ass off, she's gonna be an absolute stunner in five years.

Me? I don't want to have to wait that long. And before last night, I only had to wait a week. So I'm bummed for me, not her.

*I quite literally clapped again when I heard that Jessica was safe the week before this. And I think I figured out what it is. She's a fine singer and all, the strongest woman in the competition, but she has a tendency, at the very end of the song (and certainly this week), of giving this look directly into the camera, and it's not eyefucking, exactly, it's a look that says that Jessica is deeply, overwhelmingly in love, not just in love but in love with me, me personally, and I don't know how, since we've never met or anything, but I believe it, I believe that Jessica Sierra from this year's American Idol loves me, and I just give her my heart and trust that when she breaks it, as I know she must, she will be honorable about it and probably be devastated herself, because she never stopped loving me like she did when she was a contestant on American Idol and she told me she loved me at the end of every song with just a look. So I think that's why I clapped.

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