Jason Castro's Excellent Adventure (Idol 7 Round of 4)
How unclear is American Idol on the concept of Rock and Roll? Well, did you see the final four do Steely Dan’s Reeling in the Years as a Brady Bunch reunion number? I especially loved the bit where after walking into position, they disappeared from camera view momentarily then suddenly reappeared on the catwalk. Imagine if Donald Fagen and Walter Becker had been talked into being mentors this week. My guess is that they would have dropped Ryan off the catwalk right onto that guitar soloist. No jury would have dared convict. It would clearly have been an act of self-defense in response to whatever Idol had done to their music.
So imagine that you’re Jason Castro and you’re the sort of young man who really does think Bob Marley is cool. You’re definitely not the kind of guy who would do rock and roll hall of fame night and do Stand By Me without the beat or Love Me Tender without the growl. Just after you get your eight word solo and then have to walk/dance on the Idol Stage so that icon of the Civil Rights movement Syesha can get her bit, you have this vision of showing up two weeks from now and being forced to sing “This Is My Proud Glory Moment Because I Believe” in the key of I-money.
“Yo Dude, this is so bogus. I must have shot the Tambourine Man to land in a place this scary. Help me Mr. Wizard please Help me Mr. Wizard, I don’t want to be an Idol any more.”
George Carlin, however, doesn’t appear to bring you back to the present so you can finish your term paper at Texas A&M and finally pass that music class. Instead, you have this flashback of Simon Cowell pointing his finger at you and telling you to “Pack your suitcase. You’re going home.”
You ask yourself, “Isn’t that a Chris Daughtry song? Wow, I might even know that one for once. Where did I hear it three hundred times last year?”
David Cook seems nice enough. He even admitted that he didn’t bring it for that Duran Duran song last night, but how do you sing a 90 second version of Babba O’riley? There’s not much bad you’d have to say about David Archuleta either. It’s more that if the two of you happened to be at the same high school, any cool person would go out of his way to avoid the kid. He’s way too eager to please. Okay, if it were just the two dudes, you could maybe cope one more week, but Syesha is like what you get if you took the bad acid at Woodstock, though you admit to yourself that you’re way too young to know anything about Woodstock.
First Syesha dresses up like Tina Turner and you’re pretty sure she’s talking about being excited to go on tour to see her “fans”. Lady, you’ve been in the bottom two like six out of seven weeks and you have visions of being overrun by “your fans” on that AI tour. You’re not the one who’s getting kissed by strange teenage girls mid photo-op in Las Vegas, I’m the one who has actual fans and I’ve got to say all those balloons were pretty weird. Mine are different from that Pittsburgh stalker lady hitting on David Cook or from having millions of fan too young to drive but old enough to have their own cell phone. You remember that moment with Amanda Overmyer where she talked about selling tickets to her concerts? Lady, I saw that movie with Angela Bassett and Larry Fishburne and you’re no Tina Turner, your’e not even Angela Bassett. If Randy wants to say I was karaoke, the only zone that was in had one of those machines that takes out the vocals then plays the lyrics on a widescreen television.
If that wasn’t enough, she jumps from emulating an abused woman's act at the height of the abuse to singing about civil rights. Did I miss a transition somewhere or shouldn't she have done Tina Turner post-Ike if she wanted to invoke liberation? Let’s talk about the other slippery syllogism, Sam Cooke wrote A Change Is Gonna Come at a critical moment in the civil rights movement. This is a critical moment in my career. Therefore, this is the perfect song for me.
She sings the song more or less predictably channeling Whitney more than say Odetta or even Joan Baez who really did have something to do with the music of the Civil Rights movement. Randy disses her then Paula gives her a standing ovation. Syesha breaks out the tears like she’s just won the right to sit at a lunch counter in Greensboro or fought off Bull Conner and his dogs. I hate to break it to you lady, but being on that show the One at age eighteen where Nick was messing around with Aubrey even though his girlfriend back home was pregnant, then having the show cancelled just isn’t the same thing. There’s a difference between Philadelphia, Mississippi and people literally dying to get the vote and trotting out your dad as “Here’s my dad the drug addict”, I want you to vote for me on AI.
And what was that bit with changing the lyric from A Change “is” Gonna Come to a Change Gonna Come? There’s like a double negative in formal English….Is there such a thing as a double ebonic? How fake and manipulative was that? Oh and one more thing, what was up with talkng like the civil rights thing was done and taken care of forty years ago?
Cry all you want, please don’t do it on the Idol Stage with me. Just get me out of here… I’ll tell America anything the producers want me to say. Mmmmm….I can say that I just can’t remember all the words to two songs, much less three….You see, my brain is dead and I just want to go home….Help me George Carlin! I can’t deal with this *$ just get me back to jamming with my pal Renaldo Lapuz,
“You are my brother, my best friend forever…”
I’ll miss Jason Castro. One of the ingredients for good live tv is the hint of impending chaos. Last year Sanjaya brought it. This year Jason Castro was the one that seemed like he just wanted to do his thing instead of go to Idol Obedience School. David Cook does manage to appear a bit removed, but you can kind of tell he’s with the program. You may have noticed that when Bo Bice came out and did Witness (I guess he borrowed David Cook’s vocoder)instead of the Nigelfied rockish songs that Bo had to do so that all of 12 people could buy his album, everyone was sort of silent. I liked it. It was certainly better than that silly man from Maroon 5 (Adam Levine), but it wasn’t Idolzak. I know this is harsh because I know he’s had health problems, but it felt like the show castrated Bo Bice’s music and now he’s back trying to be Bo Bice again. You really want that sort of Endless Love there?
How do I put it? Jason might not have had much of a chance to win, but that doesn’t mean that Jason Castro wasn’t the one contestant left who could generate buzz (okay potheads, not that kind of buzz).
Could he maybe have brought out the poetry in Dylan’s Tambourine Man a bit better? Sure, it helps if you remember all the words. Could he have done a better job with I Shot the Sherrif? I mean he didn’t have to reach Bob Marley, he could have maybe gotten within singing distance of Eric Clapton. Sure….Would it have made any difference at all in the result? I doubt it. The best moment of the week was Jason’s response to Simon’s “What were you thinking?”
“It’s Bob Marley….”’
There’s no one left who could pull anything off like that.
David Cook: I don’t think anyone liked the Duran Duran. I thought he was just starting to rock with the Who song when he had to stop.
David Archuleta: Yeah yeah…..sure he sounded fine. Paula noticed that he keeps his eyes open now and he’s clearly learned to do the falsetto bit that Mariah encouraged him to add. Did Simon and all notice that this was rock and roll week? It was like going on Dancing with the Stars and getting out there and doing a perfectly competent break dance. That was Vegas Elvis not rock and roll slightly menacing and sexual Elvis. And that Stand By Me was more Jerry O’connell than River Phoenix.
Best of luck Jason and I hope you get to make music one of these days. It’s cool that you figured out that that might have nothing to do with being the American Idol.
btw: (some publicist sends me this for some reason, so I thought I'd oblige)
Tune in!!! Idol cast-off Jason Castro will be on "The Ellen Degeneres Show" on Monday May 12, 2008. Check your
local listings or visit www.ellendegeneres.com for time and channel.
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