Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hamburger not Filet (Idol 7 round of 7)

I went to lunch yesterday and such is the power of suggestion that for the first time in several months I found myself ordering a hamburger. The waitress was very friendly and seemed very intent on making sure she got the order right. so we had a conversation about whether or not cheese, onions, pickles, lettuce, jalapenos, etc. had any role to play in the hamburger I wanted. Anyway, she brought whatever we had agreed on and you know dawg, it was alright, just alright, if you know what I mean.

I started to think about the best hamburgers I could remember and something occurred to me. Over the years, I’ve had hamburgers done all sorts of ways. No matter what you put on it though, the thing that makes it memorably good is the taste or quality of the meat and the bun. If the burger part of the burger isn’t good, it doesn’t matter what you do to it.

I imagine that Simon Cowell doesn’t understand this because he’s English. For years the most successful hamburger place in England was called “Wimpy’s”. Equally strange, Brooke White was singing about a “Hero” which is a totally different thing from a hamburger. Hero’s are served cold, the bread is torpedo-shaped, and they contain a variety of cold cuts.

Anyway, I have nothing against hamburgers that consist of a bun and a meat patty and no I’m not going to talk about Brooke White's or anyone else’s buns. That said, my take is that she should have gone to her sister’s wedding. The whole crew should have gone to Brooke White’s sister’s wedding. The thing was in Utah which is like an hour’s flight from LA. It's not Kathmandu. I know that Brooke White is apparently Mormon as is David Archuleta (both have now gotten way more votes than Mitt Romney), but I’m certain that her sister wasn’t being married into one of those polygamous sects though I did wonder why they didn’t show any pictures from the wedding.

It would have been great fun to see the various remaining idols really be wedding singers. I could have seen Randy, Paula, and Simon at the head table, making toasts, criticizing the food, and I imagine Paula would have fit right in as someone’s strange aunt who has a bit too much champagne at the reception. “Sweetheart, you look so beautiful….You make such an authentic bride.”

I’m just saying that would have made much better television than Mariah Carey and the seven dwarf singers. I’m just going to put it out there, this season’s been really dull. Part of the problem is that the designated star for this year has been “Bashful” Archuleta.

Has he ever said anything remotely interesting? We learn that Mariah Carey tells virtually everyone to try to take a risk and sing in their way way upper register. (I think she was sitting backstage laughing….going “I am Mariah of the five octave range, I can sing pitches that only dogs can hear, let’s see them try to be me”) Naturally she tells David to go there and he does for about two seconds followed by this year’s teenage girl shriek track. Right, I was just begging for this season to break out Donnie Osmond for the Twenty First Century.

David does sing better than Donnie and although I haven’t seen him dance a lot he probably also does that better than Marie. He’s never fainted while talking to the judges either. He just happens to pick yet another generically inspirational song When You Believe from Disney’s Prince of Egypt. I thought Prince was from Minneapolis.

There’s no question that he can sing songs like this perfectly well, but the judges act like they’ve just discovered Stevie Wonder at some talent show in Detroit in 1962. Doesn’t the Disney channel have like three hundred teenage singers who more or less do this and even sing the same material? Is Fox planning to launch its own Disney channel to replace its news network (If so, I'll vote for David like five million times)? Or maybe they’re going to do a spinoff called Junior Idols? I think this kid would be terrific for something like that.

The next dwarf singer is Lassy. She talks for a few mintues about how much she loved the dear departed Michael Johns not because of his talent as a singer, but because he had all these funny jokes about how he did a better job marrying to get his green card than she did. He found a babe while she found an extra from Star Trek the Next Generation from that episode about the Klingon tattoo parlor. Mariah is nice to her, but you can sort of see it in her face. “No way you’re going to be me. Irish girl”.

Carly does her bit on “Without You”. I’ve now seen her sing ten times. What I notice is that throughout the performance I always think “What a great powerful voice” and at the end I ask myself “Do I want to hear ninety more seconds of this woman sing?” My answer is “Maybe not”. There’s an old trick where you tell someone to squeeze really hard on something to keep you from pulling it away from them. Of course, that just makes it easier. You hold on better by just relaxing and letting your body take over what your conscious mind can’t really manage very well. If she’d just stop making a fist with her voice the music would actually flow. ….

Screamy turns up to sing a Mariah song that I think even Mariah Carey doesn’t remember singing. She sings fine, but like David Archuleta there’s a kind of blankness to Syesha Mercado's personality both musically and personally that well bugs the *(#$* out of me. With Syesha, there’s all this vibration and energy on the outside and this kind of eerie deadness inside. I keep going back to the audition round where she trotted out her father the former addict. It was like “Here America root for me,” and not let my singing give you a window into what I’ve survived. Instead, we get a wall, the sound of a crying baby with no actual baby.

Sparkly jinxes herself by ditching the sequins. It’s been fascinating to see Kristy Lee Cook go from openly bad to genuinely pretty good mid competition. She does “Forever” passably well and as the judges point out she does it by cunningly staying within her boundaries. Would anyone have given her a chance to make it to seventh? I’m sorry to hear the guy won’t sell her horse back. Boy, does that damnation with faint praise trick with the judges work with Idol voters. She does get to say that she giave Mariah goose bumps. I’m not sure she would have if Mariah had actually had clothes on and wasn't now sixty percent saline and silicone, but we won’t go there.

Rocky shows up to do yet another alternative take on an unlikely song. This time it’s Always Be My Baby. They give him the interesting lighting. He sort of does that dynamic bit with the screaming at the right time, the judges all call him an “artist”. Paula tells him that she can see his song on some movie soundtrack right now, the dream of every alternative rock and roller is of course to be the background music for some Ben Stiller movie. Personally, I’m a little tired of it, but I’m glad someone else has a chance this year and yeah I do remember some of David Cook’s performances. I don’t have an Endless Love for them and David Cook’s Not my Guy, but I wouldn’t be mad at him if he won.

I also liked the tears. I really can believe David Cook as a guy who got to sing in a bar only because he was also the bartender who really is overwhelmed to be here yet he's still not pandering to the judges.

Goofy really doesn’t have a way to do Mariah Carey so he does "I Don’t Wanna Cry" as a folk song. Randy called it a luau. I mostly remember Jason Castro singing the same lyric over and over and never exactly paying much attention to dynamics. Paula insists that he’s original or his own thing instead of say “Authentic”. I actually decide to go to bed before they do the recaps after this night of let's do a Mariah Carey night where everyone studiously avoids sounding like Mariah Carey.

It was nice to see Elliot Yamin again. In some ways, he’s sort of old school Idol, someone America kept on the show for their own reasons. The “miss you mom” thing was touching because none of this year’s idols have managed to emotionally connect this year the way Elliot could.

I just have this funny feeling that if anyone asks me what I remember about season 7, it’ll be something as weird as it being the year of the Ryan. Clearly, he’s had much more free rein to inject his “personality” onto the show. While I’ve always thought he’s really good in the role, the emcee is supposed to be the sideshow at best. I shouldn’t be thinking that Ryan’s been the most exuberant and spontaneous character in a season where were supposed to be noticing and rooting for the singers themselves.
If Ryan's been the pickle or the mustard this season, where's the beef?

Other Chancelucky Idol Reviews

Sir Linksalot American Idol articles

Buddy TV AMerican Idol Page



At 4/17/2008 01:35:00 PM, Blogger BeckEye said...

I can't liiiiiiiive if living is without Michael...

I have to root for Jason now. He so clearly does not give a shit about this show. I love him and his weed.

At 4/17/2008 01:39:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I had read somewhere that Jason is a devout Christian. I suppose they can smoke marijauana as well, but I think a lot of people have been making assumptions about the guy because of the dreads and the way he talks.
You should give Michael a call or ask him for an interview. He can't do anything for the next 5 weeks.

At 4/18/2008 07:29:00 AM, Blogger Sunny said...

I'm happy to see beckeye coming around to the dreadhead calling. I've loved Jason and his weed and his stoner act from day one. Man, who knew anyone would ever rock a uke on Idol? Ukuleles are love.

At 4/18/2008 10:38:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I'll root for Jason, if it'll stop this whole David Archuleta thing...

I like David Archuleta, he seems like a nice young man...and he sings well, but is it possible to be any blander?

At 4/18/2008 11:50:00 AM, Blogger Gifted Typist said...

You nailed it with hollow idol observation. The producers have done nada to bring out the personalities either - I think you've mention that before.
They are like under developed Avatars in Second Life, all smooth on the surface and vacant underneath.

The only peek at personality you get is when they are being judged or booted off.

And what's with the audience booing the critiques every time they are negative? Are there signs overhead that flash Booo Booo!?

Anyway, excellent wash-up as usual.

At 4/18/2008 01:44:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks....Yeah I did write a bit about the "boring" factor earlier this year....What can I say? I'm busted I guess...and maybe recycling comments.

I'm seeing this season through, but not sure about an Idol 8....It's hard to write about nothing happening.

At 4/18/2008 01:51:00 PM, Blogger AHP said...

<<< I tried to post this yesterday but the letter code image wasn't working. >>>

I don't have a TV yet so I haven't seen American Idol in weeks. But I have karaoked a few times. This season does sound interesting though. I wish I could just see the performances on-line somewhere. Do they have them on the FOX site?


At 4/19/2008 08:07:00 AM, Blogger Gifted Typist said...

CL, this was my first Idol. Watching it with the kids is sort of fun , but without the postmortems (postmorti?) from you and BeckEye and a few others, I don't know how keen I'd be...

And it was I who was repeating you, not you repeating yourself.

At 4/19/2008 11:03:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

you can get all the performances on Just put in the names of the contestants and the clips will come up.

that's how I started with Idol...Our kids were watching it and we started keeping them company. Now, they don't watch it and we do.

At 4/20/2008 03:35:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

It's all about recaps and snark for me with the Idol because as you said, it's boring. Your send them to the wedding idea was a brilliant one, it would have been much more entertaining.

I'm very bored with all of the contestants.

At 4/20/2008 06:38:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I was also thinking doing "Don't Forget the Lyrics" or maybe having the Idols actually go to a Karaoke Bar would be great.

They could get David Archuleta and Brooke would make much better tv. If they all got drunk, they could go out and get tatoos to remember the night.


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