Friday, March 09, 2007

The Adventures of Sanjaya and his Bodyguard Sundance (American Idol 6 review)

I’ve seen a lot of grumbling that many people couldn’t imagine ever wanting to buy a CD featuring a number of this season's American Idol semifinalists, particularly the males. Let me cut to the chase.

Last year I had the good fortune to have secret sources come forward to tell me about the animotronic Taylor Hicks dolls being made in China, the peculiar influence of the Church of Scientology on the competition, and most notably Elvis’s role in getting Chris Daughtry voted off the show. This year, I’ve been getting e-mail from an anonymous source called “Dunklepal” and I feel its my duty to cut my usual review short and share e-mails culled from the server used by the show’s producers.

12/12/06 To CD:

Whoo! Thank God for last year’s strategy of you don’t have to be the “Winner” to still win on AI. Whoo Whoo….geez Cowell’s a pita, but he was right the first time. America didn’t want to buy that ticky, blues singing, loser’s music. Instead, we signed Chris, Kellie ( can you believe that her first single went double D? I mean platinum) and maybe McPhee (did she really have to let Tyra Banks treat her like a roll of Charmin?).

But what happens, if we break out five new singers every year? The market’s going to saturate. I say horizontal marketing. Who says we have to limit ourselves to cranking out singers or even music? Kellie could certainly do well on a sitcom and Kevin Covais already looks like a cartoon character. Paris Bennett could have done some of the voices.

12/13/06 To NL:

Right, I guess I’m the only one around here who remembers Kelly Loves Justin.
We fired everyone who thought it was a remotely good idea. Except us of course.

12/13/06 To NL and CD:
Hey guys, I had to comment. I thought America’s Got Talent did pretty well.

12/14/06 To CD:
Freaking “Reply to all”…. Fire your secretary! You remember last year when that clown wanted to sing in the finale? Btw I never thanked you for diverting him to that judging gig on that piece of *&%*$ show. So what was that horizontal marketing bit again?

12/15/06 To NL:
I think the difference is that those were after thoughts. This time we plan it from the beginning.

12/16/06 To CD:
btw, were you the one who put Courtney Love’s agent on my speed dial? That wasn’t funny at all. Now that loon thinks she's going to be a judge on the show.
Anyway, I’m listening. Let’s talk after the New Year.

1/3/07 To CD:
You know I know the great singers are out there. It’s just a matter of looking for them.

1/4/07 To NL:
I wasn’t talking about singers. Who cares if most of these people can't sing. The auditions just have to be good tv. btw, How’s that vocabulary coach doing with Randy? Can he say anything more than “Dawg” or “You blew it out” yet?

1/9/07 To CD:
The coach thing's going pretty well, she’s even gotten Randy to cut down on his references to everyone he’s ever worked with. I hated getting sued by the Bachelor for copyright infringement over the repeated use of the word “Journey”. Anyway, you’ve heard that Ryan is demanding a bigger closet in his dressing room?

You’re lucky you missed that meeting with those people who wanted us to make the show more socially conscious. Geez….Can you see Simon and Ryan talking about third world debt relief on the results show? "Can I be, your family, and your entire village are all going to starve to death anyway...." Then Paula jumps in, "You look really beautiful though."

Got a call from the network. Looks like virtually everything else other than AI on broadcast tv is tanking. The suits think your idea might save the rest of the Fox schedule.

1/21/07 To NL:
Sorry, was workin it out….How about?
Show 1: Saturday morning cartoons The Adventures of Sanjaya and Sundance

Sanjaya and Sundance are the mutant children of professional musicians who never made it as big as they hoped. They’re an unlikely looking pair, but the two meet up through the show when they notice that something’s different about their hair. At some point, we set it up by giving Sanjaya a sister who looks more mainstream, the judges will tell her that she’s just “normal and unremarkable”, but her brother “might be special”.

Anyway Sanjaya and Sundance travel from city to city with Sanjaya pretending to be a teen idol singer and Sundance is his bodyguard. We had a guy named “Tommy Daniels” who looked like he might be good for the role, but he sang a little too well. Okay, get this. Both are protected by a special power called VFTW….or said out loud quickly, voforthuwurs energy which comes in the form of a magic talisman built into a cellphone.

Sanjaya, of course, is sweet but goofy. His singing always gets him into more trouble than he bargained for and Sundance has to come bail him out all the time. In episode 2, Sanjaya dressed up as Michael Jackson and does a Fred Astaire song, but for some reason doesn’t even try to dance. Sundance rescues him by screaming so loud that no one watching the show can hear how bad Sanjaya really is. Then get this for a tag line, "Damn, man you could have at least done the hula."

Of course, Sundance is jealous of Sanjaya getting to be the star and he keeps telling him that he wants his turn to be the singer and make Sanjaya the bodyguard. Naturally, Sundance can’t sing at all due to some curse put on his father by John Lennon’s ghost. The only time Sundance can escape the curse is if the music has a flatted third or seventh in it and is in twelve bar form. The only problem is that Sundance is the only person in the world who doesn’t know that, so every time he tries he sings anything but the blues.

The pair has an arch nemesis, a guy in a black t-shirt and a mask who follows them to every cabaret, hotel lounge, and karaoke bar in the world and threatens to expose Sanjaya as a fake singer.

1/23/07 to CD:
Not bad, but I got to say those pics you sent me of Sundance might scare little kids. Sanjaya’s sort of non-threatening and likeable, but you think they want Michael Jackson on Saturday morning?
Anyway, what else you got? Btw can these guys sing at all?

1/23/07 to NL:
Sing? Mu ha ha ha Mu ha ha ha….Sundance is going to make Taylor Hicks and Chris Daughtry look like Ray Charles and Eddie Vedder. Sanjaya could do background vocals for the Teletubbies.

How about “Welcome Black Cotter”

Good looking ex-college basketball player doesn’t make the NBA so he tries a singing career and that doesn’t quite happen either. Opening sequence has someone telling him, “If you can’t do, teach.”

Cotter puts away his dreams and becomes a high school teacher hoping that he can inspire someone else to greatness. Instead, he gets the sweathogs a goofy but loveable group of kids who if they have talent of any kind don’t know it. The Vinny Barbarino part is played by Jenry Berjarano a sort of wild teen who is so much like Mr. Cotter that they don’t get along especially after Cotter finds his Myspace page. There’s a sweet girl named Baylie who might go somewhere, but she keeps hanging out with the wrong friends. In the meantime, Baylie always forgets stuff at the wrong moment. When Cotter gets really frustrated with the kids, he puts his face in his hands and that’s when something happens in the episode. Paula’s agent already agreed to have her do six guest appearances. We wanted her to play the mom or the principal. Right now, she wants to be the girlfriend, but we’ll get that stuff worked out.

Btw, we got a rival teacher who played basketball at Bob Jones. Only problem is he can sing a little bit.

Okay, that’s two. So far, we’re still in Puck and Pickler territory. What else you got?

How about?

Beauty and the Sneak:
We’ve got a very pretty girl who wants to get ahead, but she totally has the wrong friends. Instead of pairing with someone who tries to help her, they pair her with guys who find slimy ways to wreck whatever she’s doing. As a result, the whole world hates her. She gets sabotaged and gets so embarrassed she keeps saying and doing the wrong thing. Anyway, people secretly love watching better looking people crack up. Look at Britney Spears. This one even sings about as well as Britney.

Sorry, got to say that one sucks. It’s almost a monument to bad reality tv. No can do.

Okay, but the Girls Gone Wild producer is already bidding on the concept.

speaking of Justin Timberlake how about?

The Biggest Singing Loser:
Guy drops a bunch of weight by giving up steroids and suddenly discovers that his voice gets higher too. His football playing buddies don’t understand and the only person he can confide in is his Grandmother. In the meantime, it’s part diet show, part lifestyle, part sports commentary, with a little music thrown in.

Stacy the Vampire Slayer:
Average guy with hair joins the navy. While on watch duty in the Pacific, he’s bitten by a bat. He pretends to shave his head to cover up the change, but also finds that he can sing at really high frequency. If he sings really loud, he can scare off vampires, most of whom live in a hellmouth below the Kodak theater in Los Angeles, California.
In the meantime, Stacy leads a seemingly normal family life with a wife and two kids who have no idea what he really does with the singing. Sometimes the angst that comes with his double identity gets to him, so it’s hard for him to start songs.

Well, I hope that was all just speculation, but Dunklepal insists otherwise. Who knows about these AI rumors, maybe in a couple weeks I’ll get a chance to talk to Elvis again to see what he knows.

Some quick thoughts:
Stephanie Edwards: If you managed to cross Fantasia with Carrie Underwood, she might be the result. Not much of a following yet, but she in some ways looks like she came from a blueprint for an AI winner.

Chris Sligh: Why is everyone hugging Ryan and could Ryan look any less comfortable hugging the contestants? Wonder if it’s an in joke of some kind as in Ryan's frightened to hug fat people because he's scared that he'll catch it again. I’m not sure about the smart aleck suddenly playing the humble card instead, but he made it to the finals.

Sundance: Actually sounded way better on his singout, but on Tuesday he looked like a singing Klingon.

Melinda: I really liked the OCD thing. I’m not sure she was as “On’ as everyone insisted and we’re talking seriously old fashioned song choice. I still think she may be the best singer who’s been on the show. I am a little worried that she only sang stage left this week.

AI saves the world: Good for them.

In the meantime, this week may have done some real damage to Vote for the's claim to power. Both their choices didn't make the final. Also interesting, Dialidol isn't working as well this year.

Sanjaya Malakar: Mmmmmm, a vaguely socially conscious song on the night before AI announces its plans to end world hunger.

Why didn’t they let Carrie Underwood say anything on Thursday night? Do you think they were afraid she’d tell America that she gave any weight she didn’t want to Kellie Pickler?

Haley Scarnato: I knew her last name, I just can’t really remember what she sang. I have a feeling Simon’s remarks rallied whatever support she does have.

Lakisha Jones: Katharine McPhee sang this in the yellow dress last year. Compare Lakisha to McPhee, one of last year’s better singers. Now compare Chris Richardson to Ace Young (one of last year’s weaker singers in the final) who also did Keith Urban. The judges might have liked Chris on it, but he totally lost the meaning of the song. That in a nutshell is the difference between the males and females this year.

Blake Lewis: He sounded fine to me, but the whole bit with the goofy character, etc. and the performance made me think street musician, Wayland Flowers and Madame, or Sherry Lewis’s lost grandson. A lot of buskers are really good and it is the one form of second-line entertainment that Simon never mentions in his tirades.

Sabrina Sloan: Did she get robbed worse than A.J. Tabaldo? She handled it well.

Antonella Barba: I know this is a minority opinion, but she has potential to be very good. She’s not terribly poised either verbally or personally. She mostly needs a coach and more time. I was glad to hear Simon say something about the photo stuff, but I wonder if he was playing Idol poker with his comments. “Actually, we like you and think you handled stuff well, you did okay, but…..”
If she wants a show biz career, I hope she disappears for a while first. If she takes any offers to capitalize on the scandal stuff, I’d be very sad. In the meantime, transfer to Penn State and find some new friends.

Gina Glocksen: Hey Ryan cut it out with the Chris and Gina sitting in a tree stuff, my boyfriend's upstairs. Why does shes carry around a little statue of Sundance Head?

Phil Stacy: Guys older than 25 should not take style tips from the Backstreet Boys. I was thinking, “Geez, even a toupee would have been better.” And Lee Ann Rimes?
Maybe there really is a hellmouth under the stage there.

Oh yeah, do they actually pay whoever chooses the songs and choreographs those group sings? I didn’t know that anyone who worked on the Lawrence Welk show was still in Hollywood.

Other Chancelucky Idol Reviews

Sir Linksalot American Idol articles



At 3/10/2007 05:17:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

I want you to write the story of my blog, or life, or cartoon show. Hilarious Chancelucky.

"Can I be, your family, and your entire village are all going to starve to death...." Then Paula jumps in, "You look really beautiful though." Was it wrong of me to howl with laughter at that? Okay I didn't howl but there may have been a snort.


At 3/10/2007 07:45:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Thanks Dale,
I think you'd do very well in a cartoon sine you already have antennae and wings.
btw. Paula tells me "You look beautiful too."

I'm pretty sure that's Idolese for "You can't sing."

"Damn, you worked that out" means that didn't hurt my ears.

"Can I be honest," is I'm going to make some off the wall but insulting comparison just to get a rise from the audience.

At 3/10/2007 11:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The judges' commentary on 3rd World Idol............funny!

Phil's double life as a working vampire............even funnier!

Sundance Head as a singing Klingon.............priceless!!!

At 3/10/2007 12:23:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks for your kind comments.

At 3/11/2007 03:02:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually I did howl at the Honest, starving village crack putatively by Simon.

It's hard for me to believe that this is the most popular tv show in history. It's kind of like voyeuring Nascar wrecks crossed with smugness at being, if slightly, less clueless than these poor folk sound plus the semi-magical idea the Idol Masters have sold that your voting matters to the result -- sort of like American elections. (Don't get me wrong, I have never and will never miss voting in a political election, local or national. I just used to imagine that they actually tried to count the votes.)

At 3/11/2007 11:07:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Mr. Pogblog,
I'd say it's more than crash and burn and/or snark that keeps the show so popular....It's really the number of levels the show can play out on and the way the producers can figure out which ones to go with at any given time. Sometimes the music's actually good and people really do really really like some of the singers. Sometimes, it's the fact that most anything can happen....Some people like the strange interpersonal dynamics of the judges and Ryan....

I think it's outlasting other reality shows, because it is so flexible with all these levels. The BAchelor, the other show I followed closely hasn't been able to adjust form nearly as well.

At 3/11/2007 01:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that Simon is the hub of the Idol wheel. Brit wit always cuts thru the cotton candy &/or hamhanded USA wittishness. USA is wit-lite.

I'm tempted to watch an episode to see who this 'Ryan' is, but I know from a plague-like bout with 'how easy it is to get addicted to soap operas' 20 years ago, I'm avoiding dipping into Idol like, well, the plague.

I let you take the karmic heat.

At 3/11/2007 02:47:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Most of the reality talent tv shows seem to agree with your guess. They always seems to have one British male judge who is more critical than his counterparts.

I've never really followed Dancing with the Stars, so it's hard for me to talk about how they construct the show.. If Idol were simply a singing show though, I'm pretty sure it would have tailed off a couple years ago.

At 3/14/2007 03:15:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

I thought of you when I saw this.

At 3/14/2007 05:29:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

funny stuff Dale....

It is pretty much Sundance and Sanjaya.....

I guess I'll have to slip Nacho Libre in my Netflix cue just to see the scene. Could there be any bigger waste than what's happened to Jack Black since they started giving the guy leads?

He's so funny, they just don't know how to use him.

At 3/17/2007 07:58:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

I feel the same way. I want him to do well but he just keeps sucking. I think if you asked him about Nacho Libre right now, he'd have to say 'muy bad'. I haven't seen it.

I want to laugh at Will Ferrell more too but he's done some really unfunny stuff. I hear that Stranger Than Fiction is worthwhile though.

At 3/17/2007 08:49:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Just saw Stranger than's okay, but one of these things where they threw a lot of money at a project for one joke.

My problem with Will Ferrell is that he only plays the one character, basically his Saturday Night Live guy, and he just gets dropped into different settings.

Jack Black is a bit whackier too. Ferrell tend to be safely whacky.


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