Carly Smithson's Fun Ends (Idol 7 round of 6)
Since I’m like this big time Idol blogger, I’m sometimes privy to information that the rest of you pathetic fan-types don’t hear about. You know, I’ve heard about some woman in New York who obsessed over Michael Johns so badly she started doing odd things with Photoshop. There’s another one in Texas who still talks about Sanjaya and Taylor Hicks. No wonder the producers don’t let just anyone in on this stuff.
Oh Geez….can I start over here? I kind of forgot what I was going to say. It’s not like I have the memory of one of T.S. Elliot’s cats. Btw, has any mentor ever been tougher on an Idol competitor than Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber was with Jason Castro? I would say if they ever do a remake of Wizard of Oz though, Jason would be a shoo in for the cowardly lion. They wouldn’t even have to spend money on a CGI enhanced mane. And am I the only one who thinks that David Archuleta is trying out for a touring production of Aladdin? Do you think Brooke White got enough mileage out of flubbing the opening for a second time on the show?
So where was I? I was so darn good in rehearsals for this post. Sir Andrew himself had me stare into his eyes as I wrote the thing and he told me how good it was. I have to say Andrew Lloyd Webber might have been on of the best mentors the show’s ever had. He told the show’s pet teenager to open his eyes when he performs, he was honest with Jason Castro, he actually did get Carly Smithson to relax (imo it helped but she still got voted off), and he managed to do it all with a measure of grace and charm. Simon could learn from this guy.
I was also very impressed with the fact that Ryan finally kissed Simon. I know it was one of those very ambiguous displays of affection and devotion, more or less like the shirt hanging in the closet in Brokeback Mountain, but I suspect the two have copied the moment onto DVD to cherish forever. You know that scene in Age of Innocence where Daniel Day Lewis touches Michelle Pfeiffer’s gloved hand and they both go all fluttery? That was the exact look on Simon’s face when he realized what had happened.
Okay, what did I find out? Now that some of the more talented singers have been voted off after arguably strong performances, a lot of viewers have been wondering what the show is up to. Of course, the producers official line is that “America Votes” we just subtly and not so subtly try to manipulate the way you vote. Anyway, Syesha Mercado and Carly Smithson both sang quite well according to the judges and by most measures. Brooke White and Jason Castro both seemed to be almost embarrassed to be on the show on Wednesday night because they were so rough on Tuesday. What’s going on? I mean if it’s not about the singing what’s the point of the show?
This morning, I got an invite to a special trade show attended by all of America’s major retailers. We’re talking Walmart, Target, the Home Shopping Network, and the Pentagon. While the rest of the world is concerned about the cost of fuel and food staples like rice and wheat, they’re busy trying to sell us items we can’t really use though at amazingly low prices. Anyway, the talk of the convention was this season’s new American Idol products. With the crash of the CD market and the failure of the media spinoff scheme from last year (who can forget Justin loves Kelly or Puck and Pickler), Nigel et. al. have jumped into the ultimate Idol venture, American Idol housewares.
Naturally the talk of the show was the David Archuleta blender. It looks like your basic household blender and to be honest that’s all it is, but it has a life-sized full length photo of a smiling David Archuleta on the box and glued to the glass. Anyway, whatever you throw into the David Archuleta blender whether it’s John Lennon, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Dolly Parton, or Mariah Carey, 90 seconds later you pour out a rich, creamy, pop ballad. It doesn’t have an especially distinctive taste, but it’s inoffensive, wholesome, sweet, more or less vanilla with a noticeable but barely detectable Latin flavor. Adults might find it a little boring, but for some reason teenage girls absolutely love the smoothies it makes. They just see the Archuleta Blender and they immediately start squealing with delight and hugging the thing. A special safety circuit prevents their hands and faces from getting caught in the high speed blades.
It is a bit strange that no matter what you put into the mix, it always comes out sounding the same. To be honest, it doesn’t always work. One time someone as a joke poured in some live Beatles and the Archuleta Blender sputtered a little, but the teenage girls and Paula only loved the product all the more for that because that made it “human”. Basically, if you’re selling something that vibrates to young females, the more human it is every now and then the better it sells. The product does come with one other warning. For some reason, it makes a lousy father’s day gift. Still, it should have you just licking your lips in anticipation.
Another motorized product that seemed to be drawing a surprisingly strong level of interest was the Jason Castro portable back massage unit. A handsome looking cushion covered in a soft fur-like material, the Castro massage makes relaxation in your home so easy and painless that a few minutes in the “on” position and you’ll be singing “Hallelujah” to yourself. With one of these, you could be on national tv for the biggest moment of your life and you might have to stifle a gigantic yawn. It’s battery powered so the Jason Castro back massage unit has its limits. For example, don’t let your Cats anywhere near it or they may tear it apart. Again young females seem to like the product and have been known to buy more than one at a time. In its category which is unique and totally itself, the Castro battery-powered back massage cushion should do surprisingly well. It’s so effective sometimes, people will insist that you look stoned or at least a little breathless.
Again it’s kind of a niche thing, but the Brooke White stain removing appliance is managing to stay on the shelves. You take something old and faded maybe on the simple side and you run the Brooke White stain remover over it and it’s supposed to make it shiny and now. Well, it does work with old Carly Simon and Carole King records. We’ve also heard that someone with a Pat Benatar CD got surprisingly good results once. Even if it doesn’t make it shiny and new, the Brooke White stain remover will always make it look authentic and sincere which apparently for a surprising number of people is good enough. Also if it doesn’t work the first time, you just start over.
There does appear to be some odd chemical in the Brooke White stain remover. First, never try it on DVD’s of R rated movies. There are some reports that it also shouldn’t be exposed to sunlight. The product has a pale finish and if you so much as say “Here Comes the Sun”, it starts whooing and spinning around uncontrollably. Other than that, it’s rather amazingly durable. It even has a special microchip which says “Thankyou” and pouts cutely even when you say bad things about the product. This product is guaranteed to outlast even better built and designed competitors.
Due to their rather surprising popular acceptance in recent years, the retailers group had high hopes for the Carly Smithson tattoo-maker. Several years ago, the same technology was used for the Carly Hennessy line of label makers but a marketing problem stalled the product roll out. In any case, this baby boasts an industrial strength inking mechanism. Initial sales were very strong. The Smithson tattoo-maker did a very good job with images of the queen a logo that said “Come Together”, and even one that said “Shadow of Your Smile”. For whatever reason, it had some problems with a simple image of a Blackbird and the company nearly had to issue a recall. Other issues with a Total Eclipse only worsened the problem (customers were complaining about a load screaming sound from the unit). They called in Andrew Lloyd Webber to straighten out the manufacturing issue and to his credit, he managed to fix the problem (he’s like the Jesus Christ of this industry) and also marketed it as “fun” rather than as a household appliance (there was one customer who’d used the thing so much he looked like a Klingon. Some people swore that he'd married the product). Unfortunately, it was a bit too late to save it and sales continued to fall anyway. Even offering a free t-shirt to the first 500 phone orders couldn't save it. It wouldn’t shock us if the Carly Smithson Tatoo-Maker reappeared in some other form in a few years.
After the retailers finally rejected a line of silver lame toy horses and socks known as the Kristie Lee Cook collection and an ultra-tiny set of sushi knives set to be called Sushi At Every Miele (A David Hernandez line of Boy's dance outfits also never quite got off the ground. Same thing with the Amanda Overmyer authentic scream chamber), they rather hesitantly decided to market the Syesha Mercado high stool. One of the biggest selling points of the product was the amazing indestructibility of the Syesha Mercado stool. Normally with previous models of stools, a guest would sit on the thing one week and be gone either the same night or at least by the next Wednesday. Anyway, the Syesha Mercado school looks attractive, it’s made from an extremely high volume plastic used to produce high decibel speaker diaphragms. The manufacturers were very optimistic about the Syesha stool early because they exposed it to extreme cold then tapped on it and it still had many of the qualities of Poly Arethathane, a legendary product.
The Syesha Mercado stool was marketed with a young woman who smiles a lot, says thank you to everything, and always manages to reappear on the shelves to the amazement of those who consider the product too Yesterday. I Believe that for whatever reason there are people who Will Always Love this Stool and that the Syesha Mercado might be in the stores longer than anyone imagined.
Perhaps the strangest product of all in this year’s American Idol housewares line is a set of David Cook CD’s. Apparently you stick them in a CD player and surprisingly good music comes out.
Not only does it make Lionel Ritchie and Michael Jackson sound quite different and even fresh, but amazingly it can do songs from Phantom of the Opera more or less straight. It’s a bizarre marketing idea I know, but I think it's the only AI product left that has a chance to stay in stores for a while.
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