Thursday, March 13, 2008

David Hernandez Meets Pete Best (Idol 7 round of 12)

Was that David Vitter and Elliot Spitzer singing a duet on Can’t Buy Me Love? (is there a possible AI tryout connection?) Was that Kathryn Mcphee auditioning for the lead in the remake of the Fabulous Baker Boys? As a baby boomer, I love the Beatles. David Archuleta lost major points with me by saying, “Okay, well at least there’s this Stevie Wonder version I can do.”

The Gods of pop music must have been watching and brought their justice down on Junior Star Search David. I love Stevie Wonder too, but you welcome an opportunity to do the Beatles and you call it the chance of a performing lifetime. You definitely don’t reveal to the camera that it’s something you’d just as soon avoid.

David Archuleta screwing up the lyrics, losing his poise (not in a big way), and then meandering through his version of I Can’t Quite Work It Out was a disaster for David Arhculeta fans but it was great reality television. For six years, Idol watchers have been trained to expect the final singer of the evening, the Pimp spot, to be indulged with wild praise by the judges. This year, it’s been the jinx spot. Asia’h Epperson’s All By Myself got the meh treatment and an exit the next week. Syesha Mercado did Whitney Houston no less then got three total words worth of critique from the judges and fell to the bottom three yesterday after being considered an early contender or at least pimpee. Mmmmm… Now, whatever he does this week is way more dramatic because no front runner has ever been quite this bad for a given performance(I do think Katharine Mcphee came close though during Elvis week and Jordin Sparks was not good with Bon Jovi, but they still didn't fall this far).

I doubt that the kid will fall that far even with a second so-so performance for Beatles week #2. I know double albums were big in the early seventies and the Beatles do probably offer more variety than most any single artist “theme” group going, but I’m a bit puzzled by Idol’s sudden all Beatles all the time format. If they were going to do it in two parts, I think they could maybe have done it thematically. Songs written by Paul vs. songs written by John. Psychedelic Beatles vs. Moptop Lads from Liverpool. They could have dragged Yoko and say Heather Mills out there to make some token appearance. Yoko Ono on American Idol would have been incredible.

Ryan: So Yoko did John really call you “Mom” and is it true that you’re the one who broke the group up?

Yoko: Ryan, what do you think of my shoes?

Ryan: Wasn’t Ricky Miner’s arrangement for the Plastic Ono Band just great America?
That wail at end was amazing.

I do think that whatever was going on between the new fab four of Simon, Paula, Randy, and Ryan might have been some attempt to parallel the chemistry and eventual demise of the original fab four. Seriously, the weird sexual/sexuality banter is getting kind of old though. I did like the junior high “shutup already” exchange between Simon and Paula, but sideshows need to stay on the side.

No one seems to have commented on this season of Idol maybe not being the most “talented” ever, bu the most multi-cultural Idol ever. The show not only had a record number of “Hispanics” in the final 12, it managed to reveal the range of what it means to be Hispanic. Jason Castro (Columbia), David Archuleta (Honduras), Syesha Mercado, and David Hernandez all seem to represent some distinct slice of the demographic without singing Gloria Estefan or making like Cheech Marin. Throw in Danny Noriega and it’s a pretty interesting cross section. In addition, the show has Ramiele Malubay, Chikezie (Nigerian), Michael Johns (Australia), Carly Smithson (county Pub in Ireland), and Amanda Overmyer (Bikers with two-toned hair). It’s not an America that existed on television when the Beatles were still together. Somehow though, the Beatles have something to do with the fact that we now have much broader cultural possibilities. In a sense, this is the real way to honor the sixties and the influence of the Beatles and the notion of breaking free that they represented in the pop world. John Lennon might not be smiling about what Idol did to all of his music, but I suspect he’s smiling to see that this little bit of what he Imagined did happen. Now, if they’d just get busy with the Give Peace a Chance Part.

David Hernandez: Got to be Season 7’s Stuart Sutcliffe in that he leaves the show just before the tour. He never sounded bad, but with the audience reach outs and the non-dance dancing, I think he thought he was performing at the county fair (you know that scene in Hugh Grant’s Music and Lyrics). I wasn’t that shocked that he got voted off. It also seemed oddly convenient. The show got to say they didn’t kick him off, America gets the honor of not voting him off the week the scandal broke, and he just happens to not make the tour the next week. That said, I’m not sure the gay lapdance thing mattered that much. In fact, it might have helped at this stage of the show. It was the boring part that got him voted off.

Kristie Lee Cook: Yikes. Didn’t she wear that outfit before and does she do the same eye movements and poses every time she sings? Why speed the song up if you’re going country? A couple fiddles and minor tones don’t make something country, it’s about the feel of heartache never being more than a couple notes away that makes something country. Bouncy does exist in country, but even then whatever you’re trying to escape is still in the shadows. This was Eight Days A Wreck and no, I don’t have ways to show I care. Naturally, she stays on for another week.

If she’s one of the “ringers” for this year, the scandal in her case isn’t so much that she’s on this show, it’s that she had a big time music agent and label ties in the first place.

Michael Johns: Is Michael Johns one of those tennis instructors whose real private lessons always seem to involve the country club moms? I thought he was pretty good on Across the Universe and that he made the right choice to stay with the song pretty much as is. Some of the better versions get more of a floating quality to the melody and I don’t think he managed that. Mrs. Chancelucky thinks he’s attractive.

Chikezie: I not saying this happened, but I have this image of Chikezie working airport security and maybe finding something in Paula Abdul’s bags (not terrorist related more like some controlled substance that might explain those strange verbal adventures) and he then just happens to get his spot on Idol. Before this week, that scenario would have made more sense to me because I wasn’t quite sure how the guy had made it this far.

The judges talked about Brother Wherefore Art Thou influencing the country section of She’s a Woman. This is a bit of a tangent and maybe it’s kind of out there, but I was hearing more bits of an old album I have with Ry Cooder and Ali Farka Toure (a guitarist from Mali) called Talking Timbuktu. The album reconnects African music with both blues and rock in a celebration of the real roots of our pop music and I recommend a listen if you haven’t had the chance.

Anyway, my problem earlier with Chikezie was that he started off on the show as some sort of retro-lost member of the Fifth Dimension or the Pip who got left behind mid-tour at LAX. The great thing about this arrangement was that Chikezie sort of reconnected with his Nigerian roots with that first section (yeah, I know Mali and Nigeria are different cultures and have different music) and the performance was kind of a sped up history of where the Beatles came from. In fact, if anything I wish that that first section stretched a bit longer. In any case, it was suddenly like the Cheze went out of Chikezie and the Ike was back in for everyone to see. It was genuinely interesting and a fresh view of him and the Beatles.

Amanda Overmyer: I’ve been spelling the woman’s name wrong for like three weeks. Doesn’t anyone read this blog carefully? Including me, I guess. I agree that this was better in that she seemed to have a sense of the shape of the song rather than just turning it into a growlfest.

David Cook: I liked what he did with Eleanor Rigby soundwise. Did the arrangement catch the loneliness and despair in the lyric though? He’s sort of getting the praise that was supposed to be going to Michael Johns. I wonder if there’s a book somewhere in David’s new apartment called “Daughtry for Dummies.” There are 2 Cooks and until last night there were 3 Davids in this. No wonder they keep singing the same songs on this show.

Carly Smithson: She was fine, but what about Come Together was all that new? Simon seems to be working from some sort of road map with his critiques of her. Hold back in the beginning to keep it less obvious, then build up slowly. No, I didn’t see the Kelly Clarkson parallel. Kelly Clarkson really came out of nowhere. Carly has had about forty two hours of camera time so far.

Ramiele Malubay: Way back in audition land, Simon mentioned that she seemed too old-fashioned. It seems like her voice is only exciting in top gear, partly it’s the little girl giant voice thing. When she goes delicate like with In My Life, there’s no contrast between the presentation and the sound and it reverts to being more soy sauce than wasabi. America sent all her friends home, I have this feeling that the remaining Idols are now kind of afraid to hang out with her.

Syesha Mercado: I was waiting for her to have to deal with material that was outside the soul-diva powerhouse thing. All that was left behind was a lounge act.

Jason Castro: He went back to the guitar and it felt a little bit like he was doing an update on John Lennon’s more lyrical mode. Usually the sweet melodic stuff was supposed to be Paul, but John did some of that too. He wasn’t singing it for me. It was sort of for the teenaged girl vote and I think it likely worked. Simon’s guy with a guitar in the dorm room wasn’t that far off, it’s just that it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think Brooke White and Jason have done well because Idol’s mostly been about oversizing the music. The audience has been hungry for “intimate”. After all, the voter demographic has generally been young and female.

To be honest, I’ve always liked the two part harmony from the original and the solo version loses something in that you don’t get to see the solo premised on the conditional “if” turn into a duet.

random note- Many many years ago, I went to a school whose Marching Owl Band did a halftime show that parodied the military culture at Texas A&M. My school which never was much of a football school also managed somehow to win the game. After the final whistle, thousands of crew-cutted A&M cadets surrounded the stadium waiting to confront the long-haired, pot smoking, affronts to all things Godly, American, and Texas that were summed up in the Marching Owl Band. It didn't help that their parody of the Aggie band included goose stepping and a giant fire hydrant in honor of Reveille peeing on some football field in the old Southwest Conference.
Thirty five years later we've segued to the dreadlocked Jason Castro as a Texas A&M student. How do you say times have changed in Aggie? God I'm old.

Brooke White: Let It Be is actually one of the few songs that I play okay on the piano. It’s that simple :}. She was fine though she wasn’t stellar musically. Again Brooke White seems pretty much in the tradition of coffee house musicians. I liked the de-frizzed hair btw. The level of the music though isn’t the point. She’s managed the presentation of herself better than any contestant this year. Those tears paired with the I’ve dreamt of this stage, this piano, this band, were right on pitch. For various reasons she’s perfect for the camera in the way she pulls off wholesome without seeming either forced or corny. At this point, it appears that it’s going to come down on the female side to Brooke vs. Carly at some stage. Right now, I’d bet on Brooke.

Other Chancelucky Idol Reviews

Sir Linksalot American Idol articles

Buddy TV AMerican Idol Page



At 3/13/2008 05:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. David was great this year. I'm going to miss him. A group card has been started for David... stop by and leave a personal message!

At 3/13/2008 05:39:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks for stopping by and commenting. I've seen at least one story that claims that David Hernandez is already getting offers, music offers. I don't think he'll have to go back to the Pizza Bistro for a while if ever.

At 3/14/2008 04:22:00 AM, Blogger Sunny said...

Nice review as always. I agree with you regarding Brooke and Carly. Simon's comparison and her response were pure Idol Cheese Whiz.

I love Jason's low-key approach to the music it is refreshing on Idol. That said, Chikezie was the best of the evening. What a surprise. Like Jackson said, "Who knew"! Cook is getting way over pimped as he's pulling 'a Daughtry' all over the place and using Incubus as a major influence rather like Daughtry used Live. There's a plethora of videos of guys putting the rock on Eleanor Rigby" - it's just those judges don't seem to get out much. LOL.

I will say I think David Cook's voice is better than Daughtrys actually.

At 3/14/2008 10:07:00 AM, Blogger BeckEye said...

Mrs. Chancelucky has good taste.

At 3/14/2008 02:44:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Jason may have gone a little too low key this week, but as I said I don't think he was aiming that performance at middle aged men. IT was for young women or even slightly older ones to imagine that he was singing for them and them alone.
David Cook's voice is probably a bit more flexible than Chris Daughtry's. I thought Daughtry had much better stage presence.

Thanks for the link to all the Eleanor Rigby's.


I think if you're Mrs. Chancelucky, by definition you don't have great taste in men at least on one level. But yes, hse did say something about Michael Johns being the good looking one.

At 3/14/2008 05:10:00 PM, Blogger Gifted Typist said...

I'm with the Mrs. CL too.
I'm also with you Brook vs. Carly.
Once again, such a well-observed debrief.
Next week I'm in the Caribbean and will probably miss the show so I'll be depending on you and BeckEye to fill me in

At 3/15/2008 04:36:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

You said magic words: Ry Cooder and Ali Farka Toure! I have some of the songs from that album and love them.

While I'm unable to be snark free when I speak about these rotten kids, you at least are the fairest of all Chancelucky even if your spelling is atroshus. :-)

At 3/15/2008 09:18:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

my guess is that they show American Idol in the Caribbean unless you're going to Cuba. Have a great trip!

Somehow, I knew you'd know that album as well. It would be interesting to see someone go that far out on the show, but they never let them.

At 3/15/2008 05:15:00 PM, Blogger Cicily Janus said...

Great review of AI. I don't get to watch the show except for excerpts on Youtube, so now I am relying on your dirt.

And yes, you get the chance to sing Beatles and you take it with grace, a smile and without shitting your pants.

And I do believe Kat McPhee wasn't nearly this bad...

At 3/18/2008 09:43:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I'd agree. Even though Katharine Mcphee lost the lyrics in her Elvis medley she held the performance together. David Archuleta got completely lost and just kept jumping back into the song and meandering.


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