Friday, February 22, 2008

Virgin Sacrifice (American Idol 7 round of 24)

I know that Simon Cowell gets paid to be the guy who delivers the bad news, but I think he crossed the line again on Thursday night with Colton Berry. No, it wasn’t another Bush Baby thing, but it wasn’t that far off. He told Colton Berry to get a day job and enjoy the singing on the side, because he didn’t think he could make it. Colton Berry is all of seventeen years old. He made the final 24 on a show with 100,000 plus auditioners and you played some role in his getting there. Why drop this in front of 20 million viewers on the nice young man who sang a forgettable version of Elvis’s Suspicious Mimes?

“We’re caught behind glass….We can’t get out….Because we're suspicious mimes, babeee..”

If you really want to give that advice, you pull him aside after the show and give him the "do you really want this, because this is what it might take for someone like you" speech.

For my own reasons, I often think about Roomful Of Mirrors, a biography of Jimi Hendrix, a well known musician from the sixties who was almost as memorable as Spiral Staircase and the Turtles according to the producers of American Idol. Into his early twenties, Hendrix had the experience of having people walk out on him, getting kicked out of bands (one of which included Tommy Chong on lead guitar) , and repeatedly being told that he should pursue something else like joining the army or selling drugs. No record producer would have touched Jimi Hendrix at age seventeen.

No, Colton Berry is probably not the next Hendrix, but he had a nice enough voice, he looks like Ellen Degeneres, and he certainly didn’t embarrass himself on Tuesday night. He even showed a bit of humor and poise that weren’t extraordinary for a 17 year old a la Jordin Sparks or Lisa Tucker, but if it were my kid I’d be pretty proud of him. I, personally, have no idea where Colton Berry will be in ten years musically. When I was seventeen, no one in his right mind would have told me to write (they might have been right about that), but I’m glad I kept trying. I would say telling anyone, regardless of talent, to make sure they have a day job to fall back on isn’t bad advice….Just don’t take away the dream. It’s not your right, even if you happen to be right. And don’t do it on national tv. What’s the point of that other than to beat up on a perfectly nice 17 year old who probably at least sings better than Paula Abdul? Was it some weird fear of Ellen Degeneres?

My own theory is that Simon has some man crush on Kyle Ensley, the aspirant who got let go in favor of Colton Berry over Simon’s objections. Now that Ryan has clearly moved on from his long flirtation with Simon and now that my web-pal Beckeye seems to have taken up with Michael Johns (my guess is she has thing for guys with funny accents), Simon probably got a little fixated on the geeky guy from Oklahoma and was lashing back. I also think that Danny Noriega’s head snap (Well, someone didn't like it..) further triggered some unexamined homo-erotic longing for Kyle with Simon. If you remember, he had a thing for Carrie Underwood, also from Oklahoma. I’m thinking Simon has one of those peculiar British fascinations with cowboy life. In the privacy of his glass-bricked bathroom, he probably puts on a holster, boots, and chaps and lipsynchs to Gene Autry MP3s. I’ve heard that his next concept group is going to be called “Il Cowboyo” and will homage the Village People but with more of an S&M tinge. Once a year some sassy contestant Slighly spends camera time to remind Simon Cowell that his own time in the music industry has been more Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys than Hendrix, Jim Morrison, or Janis Joplin.

The other strange venture into meanness went into crushing Kady Malloy. Later in the show Simon tells Alexandrea (did I pronounce that right?) Lushington that he isn’t looking for a performer, he wanted someone who sang well. I did agree some that Lushington, the other Junior Star Search alum, performed Spinning Wheel well in a theatrical sense, made the arrangement contemporary, but even I could hear that her voice had some limits and some technical issues. I thought Kady Malloy showed off a very promising voice, it just wasn’t much of a performance. One of things I like about Kady Malloy is she really is into music. On her profile page, she mentions Eva Cassidy, Queen, and Led Zeppelin. Usually Idol Singers don’t seem to know about much beyond Mariah and Whitney Houston or whatever the equivalents are in other genres. Anyway, I’m always cringing when they turn up with these top 40 musical loves. Groovy Kind of Love is one of those sixties artifacts because it weds Austin Powers lyrics to a melody and harmony by Clementi (the Italian composer not the baseball player who died in the plane crash). You remember when Rick Wakeman put the theme from Brahms Fourth on an Album and Emerson Lake and Palmer did a whole arrangement of Pictures at an Exhibition? It’s at least interesting.

So, yes she needs to smile some and yes she probably needed to sing out more (especially for first impression purposes). I’m not saying that Kady Malloy was great on Wednesday, but it’s clear to me that she has a pretty rich voice and definitely looks like a potential pop star or at least someone’s mean sister for teen movies. The judges treated her like Melinda Lira or the return of Stevie Scott. Instead, they’re playing this weird head trip about you’re only good when you’re being Britney. I mean the girl’s eighteen years old….It’s okay to make one deserved positive comment beyond Paula’s usual “You look really pretty”. Comparing her to pencils and Night of the Living Dead was simply over the top. I would have cried too.

Of course, that’s the irony. They pay Simon to do this sort of thing and America allegedly loves it. It’s what we talk about on the day after the results show. It’s kind of like a modernized version of ritual virgin sacrifices. (Please don’t read anything into that about either Kady Malloy or Colton Berry)


Kristie Lee Clark: Paula personally came to her rescue. I wouldn’t have voted her out either, but if she performs like this some stranger’s going to be keeping that horse for a while.

Joanne Borgella: There’s likely some law of the Reality TV universe that says you can’t win two different shows on two different networks anyway. We’ll find out as David Archulata gets pimped forward, but she just wasn’t very memorable.

Alaina Whitaker: Some nice fellow commented on my review of Tuesday that yes, indeed the contestants were limited to about 50 songs for the show. (thus 2 versions of Spiral Staircase and the Turtles). She did pretty much wipe out Chikezie (who somehow survived anyway). I want to hate her, but I couldn’t. How am I supposed to tell the difference between Kristie Lee Clark, Kady Malloy, and Alaina Whitaker? You mean the attractive blonde one with the pretty good voice?

Amanda Overmeyer: What the hell is an authentic rocker? A couple years ago, I kept asking if Chris Daughtry is a real alt rocker, what the hell’s he doing singing beneath a logo for Coca Cola and Ford? Do they become genuine because Paula, Randy, and Simon certify them as such?

“Yo, Paula Abdul told me that I’m a real rocker! Can you believe that….I’m so cool.”

Of course, Chris Daughtry’s real business as a rocker seem to be providing background music for Idol segues. Does anyone remember when musicians actually were expected to provide social commentary through their art?

Let me break it to you….she’s playing the part. I tend to agree with Simon that the actual singing was all over the place and does anyone see an actual rebel here? I did think she did good schtick though about being the one who pulled out into the intersection.

Amy Davis: the most telling moment during Where the Boys Are (can you think of a worse song choice…well there’s Moon River I guess), they did their obligatory shot of the guy contestants and they were all shifting around in their chairs and looking painfully uncomfortable. Can anyone sing Connie Francis in a way that’s remotely contemporary?
For years there’s been this, well she looks nice she’ll go a round or two just based on that, but this year’s mix it was almost like one of the singer/model types had to go in the first round because two people had to go.

Brooke White: I was disappointed. In the audition rounds she seemed to have a feel for lyrical and personal and she chooses Happy Together? If she doesn’t go to her strength next week even though she’s been pimped a fair amount, we’ll be talking about washed-up instead of washing up liquid.

Asia’h Epperson: I liked her version of Piece of My Heart….I look forward to her making it to Wednesday without the show mentioning that her father died.

Ramiele Malubay: There used to be a North Beach punk club called the Mabuhay Gardens and well I keep seeing this young woman singing there. She took on Dusty Springfield and did very well. She has a very nice voice, but if Simon’s lingering concern about her was that she’s too old-fashioned….I Don’t Have to say this was exactly that, you will understand. Believe me. She also showed off a very relaxed self-effacing personality in the dismount. Re: Ryan and the shoes. If you’re still trying to butch it up, this was up there with telling Simon last year that it’s not pink, actually it’s salmon.

Syesha Marcado: She’s my wife’s favorite. To me she’s kind of an Aretha impersonator who goes by the motto, “When in doubt, shout”. I’d like to see her do well with other material, but she’s definitely good. Original is an open question. That’s why I’d like to see her do a ballad to see if she can bring off vulnerability, etc. I also get this feeling that there’s a closet diva lurking within her. Could be interesting if the judges ever turn on her.

Carly “Hennesy” Smithson: They came clean about the former record deal, but I thought it wasn’t because the company collapsed more that she just didn’t sell. She covered up the tattoos for sixties night, but they mentioned the tattoo parlor anyway and I have to say it’s cool that she owns a tattoo parlor with her husband, though it’s more like she should be the nurse and Amanda Overmeyer should own the tattoo parlor.

She was really good on Shadow of Your Smile though I could hear the cold a bit (not sure if I would have had they not claimed that all the women were sick all week). My wild guess about Simon breaking ranks was that he was being cunning. The producers have set her up as the frontrunner. Actually, the last thing she needed was over the top praise from the judges. The whisper across the net has already been “fix”. What else are you supposed to think when Carly and Michael Johns both just happen to get the pimp spot? Simon rather cannily took the edge off. Notice he didn’t criticize her, it was more like “Not as fantastic as it should be” as in you’re properly in this competition.

Sorry I can’t chat longer, I’ve got to go meet Garrett Haley at the tanning salon.
Other Chancelucky Idol Reviews

Sir Linksalot American Idol articles



At 2/22/2008 07:39:00 PM, Blogger Gifted Typist said...

True, it was harsh but he was responding to Paula and Randy who told him to keep trying. The guy's swan song performance was pretty uninspiring and sort of confirmed what Simon said.

At 2/23/2008 08:11:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I didn't say the guy's performance didn't arguably deserve the boot, it was telling him that he'd never make it that was gratuitously mean. It might be more okay for a 28 year old who's been performing in public for ten years, but as paradoxical as it seems you can be mean and diplomatic.

17 is so young that you have no idea of what someone might eventually do. The guy also was definitely not in William Hung territory.

At 2/23/2008 08:46:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

You really feel strongly about your comment back to GT don't you Chancelucky? Haha. We get it! I agree completely, no need for dream crushing. Loving your assessments as always. You and Beckeye should be ruling the world!

At 2/23/2008 09:43:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Gifted Typist,
Dale has a point. I got carried away in my response to you.

To be honest, I'm still watching the show so I can't be all that angry at Simon Cowell or protective of Colton Berry. I figure that if there's a ruckus, they'll bring Colton back for the finale and have some famous musician who was told that he or she should "give it up" possibly by Simon Cowell present him with a Golden Idol or something.

At 2/24/2008 07:56:00 AM, Blogger AHP said...

Simon is insecure at some level and so he feels the need to criticize kids, (and why he pushes up his biceps with his hands). The real issue is, where's the next Sanjaya!

At 2/24/2008 02:11:00 PM, Blogger Gifted Typist said...

All's forgiven, besides you're right...

you're right ....

you're right ...

At 2/25/2008 08:08:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

my questions is where's the last Sanjaya? Amazingly, I think his name recognition remains much higher than Jordin Sparks.

Simon is the one judge who isn't a musician, though Paula's sort of debatable. I'd agree, there's something vaguely insecure about his bluster.

Group Hug! I'll go watch an hour of Ben Mulroney and Canadian Idol as penance.

At 2/27/2008 08:48:00 AM, Blogger BeckEye said...

I like sexy accents. SEXY. Not funny. Unless funny suddenly means sexy. Actually, for me, funny is sexy. I would dump Michael and Simon for the accent-less Will Ferrell.

At 2/27/2008 04:02:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Will Ferrell? Does John Travolta know that you have this thing for Will Farrell?

At 2/28/2008 10:20:00 AM, Blogger BeckEye said...

John and I have an open relationship.

At 2/28/2008 10:43:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

So that means he parks his 747 outside your door anytime he wants?


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