Thursday, May 08, 2008

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 for time and channel.

Other Chancelucky Idol Reviews

Sir Linksalot American Idol articles

Buddy TV AMerican Idol Page



At 5/08/2008 05:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you must miss Jason .. you called David Cook ..Jason Cook in your ending . lol. I will miss him too . Jason made idol so much more interesting to watch. I really enjoyed his performances. He is good and will be missed.

At 5/08/2008 05:49:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

anonymous, thanks for the catch. I'll fix it....then again maybe I shouldn't :}

At 5/08/2008 07:10:00 PM, Blogger Gifted Typist said...

"There’s like a double negative in formal English….Is there such a thing as a double ebonic?"

That's another hot molten lava bomb from you, dude! (and I usually refrain from use of the exclamation mark)

Picking up on the *subtle nuances of disappointment* in the writings of you, Becks and Idolatry, I wish this wasn't my virgin year for Idol.

I would have loved to be at this point in the show when there was some real buzz in the thing.

Even my kids (9 and 11)think it's scripted and dull.

Are you making your picks for the winner? Or do you care?

I day Cookie because Syesha's votes will migrate his way and the judges will push him because he is the "package."

But whaada I know. I'm an Idol virgin.

At 5/08/2008 07:18:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Thanks GT,
you should try your hand at a review or at least an Idol post. btw, Idols and virgins sort of go together conceptually...

no subtle nuance here...this might be the most talented Idol cast ever (they stopped saying it), but it's still been duller than a sitcom with Kelly Ripa.

I want to say David Cook, but I'm noticing that the people who get excited enough to complain about my Idol posts this year are David Archuleta fans. My actuarial side thinks it's going to be Mr. Thanks Thanks very much....close eyes, smile..nod head.
it's really not about them though, the show's mostly about Simon.

At 5/08/2008 07:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so happy that most people have said good things about Jason Castro's exit. He was so relieved to get out of the AI pressure cooker cocoon, that he was genuinely high spirited when he was eliminated. What a way to go! I'm going to miss Jason, too-- his pleasant and unique personality--a breath of fresh air truly rare since Bo Bice season. I only started really liking Jason after Michael John was eliminated. I listened to his Hallelujah again and I was hooked. Tonight, I downloaded from ITunes 12 of his songs and listened to them on my IPod. That guy has a great voice. Away from the Idol stage where you hear so many voices, especially the judges, listening to his voice played one after the other, this guy has great potential. He does not even know how great of a singer he is, just love his voice--delivery was good. For someone who just started singing 3 years ago, he sounded like he was doing it for a long time. I lost the excitement watching AI. They should just give the win to David Cook and be done with it! *lol*

At 5/09/2008 07:53:00 AM, Blogger BeckEye said...

Yep, Jason's departure was bittersweet. I will miss him so, but he really wanted to go. And he was being screwed over so badly for the last 2-3 weeks, that I didn't want him to have to deal with the judges' agenda anymore. I hope he comes out with a really cool stoner album next year.

I didn't mention this in my review, but I should have. Everyone praised Cookie for ultra-condensing "Baba O'Riley," yet when Michael had to really edit down "A Day in the Life," they gave him all kinds of shit for it. True enough that THAT song was a bit clunkier because of the many signature changes and all, but he did a pretty good job with it. Oh, but I forgot, he is a white soul singer. He wasn't allowed to do any rock songs. Just like Jason...he was told over and over that he could ONLY do the "Jack Johnson" thing.

I'm ready for some new judges. Simon can stay, but the other 2 bozos have to go.

At 5/09/2008 10:35:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope Jason does well doing the music that he likes. I was pretty amazed to learn how little singing experience he had prior to the show.

It was too bad Michael Johns was gone. I think he would have done very well on Rock and Roll night.

btw...Did they show Luke Menard in the audience at the beginning of the Tuesday show?

At 5/09/2008 12:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who will win? Who knows, but if talent has anything to do w/it, I think little David proved, once again, that he can sing circles around the others. If he keeps up this level of performance through the Finale, I think we can wave bye-bye to Cookie and Syesha.

His detractors always piont to the fact that all he does is sing ballads. I must be watching the alternate reality version of AI this year. I went back and looked at his songs, and at least 6 of his have been upbeat pop, rock or pop jazz. Nobody mentions the fact that all David C. does(except for ALW week) is sing rock songs.

David A is also dissed for not lunging about the stage when he sings. He probably has some work to do here. But honestly, when you can sing like THAT, and the audience becomes completely absorbed in the song and emotion, you don't really need to swing the mic stand, use smoke, pyrotechnics and cheesy dance moves to sell yourself. For instance, the 'hungry wolf' eyes that Cookie made at the girls in the mosh pit...well, enough said.

So there you have it. Another devoted fan of little Archie chiming in. I hope I haven't made you ill.

At 5/09/2008 03:52:00 PM, Blogger benny06 said...

Jason reminded me of that Siyad or whatever his name was last year. He was lucky to get this far.

I'm rooting for David Cook, but I suspect it will be the blender instead.

At 5/09/2008 06:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is something magical about Jason Castro. I am not an AI fan but this year was different because it was so much fun to watch Jason being Jason:) I respect his decision not to be a part of the circus anymore - good for him!! Hope to have JC back soon though...I will keep my eyes and ears open!!

At 5/09/2008 09:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, Chance. Let me try to clear up this DA fan thing for you. It's called "O.D.D."- Obsessed w/David Disorder. Seriously. There are 2 pages of symptoms. You can find them on the David Archuleta Fan Blast website.

If you read comments on any DA site, message board, forum (just go to the official AI site & read comments on performance videos...)the thing that will stand out, is the nature and tone of these messages. They are not just the "wow, you really rocked it", sort of thing. They are from thousands and thousands of people, from around the world, each gender, every age..."We love you!! You lift me up every time I hear your voice! Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift! You are truly blessed! Your singing makes every day so much better for goes on and on...What's happening is that DA is really connecting w/people on a soul level. Sounds pretty corny, doesn't it? There is a middle aged man that has collected thousands of these comments, published them and had them hardbound to give to David. When David was asked what he wanted to do w/his music, he said that if he could inspire people, or even make their day better w/his music, that would be the best thing. He wants to share w/others how music moves him and has changed his life.

People really connect w/ and love this kid, not just his singing ability. It's pretty cool to see how much of an effect one person can have.

Look, I'm an old Dead Head, and a Buddhist. I like Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers...never really cared for pop music. When I watched DA sing 'Imagine', The thought I had was, 'Wow! This kid is just so open! It's like the power of the universe is just flowing through him...WOW!!'. I've been hooked ever since. I found myself surfing the net to learn all I could about him, replaying his performances, downloading him on ITunes...You can't imagine my relief to find that thousands of others like me were doing the exact same thing. After all, I am 56 and balding...

The kid is truly remarkable. Who would have ever guessed that love, inspiration and beauty would reach us from the cheesy stage of AI? The universe is just unfathomable. I am trying to be more and more open as I go along...The Buddha must be having one of his great big belly laughs over this one!!

We all find our bliss in different places...there are just a whole lot of us finding some of it w/DA.

At 5/09/2008 10:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question. If the Davids are in the big Finale, just exactly what are we voting for? Who is better looking? Who can dance? Who is a better arranger? Better singer? And singer of what,for that matter? How in hell would you compare and pick the best, if say, Nirvana and Elton John were in the running? Is it just me, or is this just absolutely ridiculous?

At 5/10/2008 01:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to hear a very good version of Imagine listen to Jordi Unga's version when she was on the show Rock Star INXS.

At 5/10/2008 01:05:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

My guess is that David Archuleta will win. The vote appears to be a combination of things. Being the best singer (which David may be) is just one of the factors. I think if it were the only factor Melinda Doolittle would have won last year.

I think the similarity between Jason and Sanjaya beyond the hint of chaos is that they both came off as very gentle souls. In both cases, it was refreshing and I think the voters agreed. Both stayed on the show for a while.

yeah, I think this was the perfect stop for Jason Castro to get off the bus. Wherever he's going, I hope he has fun.

Last year, Diana Ross was saying that Sanjaya was "love". Are you saying that this year there should be a whole new cult around David Archuleta?
The Grateful Dead and Red Hot Chili Peppers to David Archuleta is a pretty interesting jump there, but I think having a broad range of musical taste is a great thing.

I think people are voting for whoever they want to be the Next American Idol. I suspect that's different for everyone who votes.

For all we know, Syesha will sneak in and win after being in the bottom two seven times.

thanks for the suggestion

At 5/11/2008 07:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Chance! I have no idea who or what Sanjaya is, so it is hard for me to comment on it.

A cult? Brings up negative thoughts for me, and so I'd have to say no to that one.

Chili Peppers to David A a big jump? Not if you consider that music done well is just that, whatever the genre. Personal judgement is the only thing that divides things into columns, listing what is either good or bad. For me, being more open and not labelling things, and just experiencing them as they are...well, that opens up the entire universe. I can't believe how much I have missed out on in life by having so many set ideas about how things are or should be! I probably still am missing out on so much, and am just not aware enough yet to see it!

David A is just one of the infinite ways that the universe is expressing itself. If the expression of beauty and love is coming through some shy Mormon kid with a great voice, far out, man!! I'll celebrate that!! It's a beautiful thing that so many thousands around the world are touched and moved by his energy.

I'm not going to label it. I'm just gonna enjoy the ride!

At 5/11/2008 12:16:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I'm really surprised that you've never heard of Sanjaya Malakar.
I hope David Archuleta does well this week. Pretty much everyone assumes that he'll at least make the final.

Is this the one where they pick 3 songs that they've already done this year? If so, which 3 should David pick?

At 5/11/2008 04:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chance- I have no idea about how this show works, man! I never watched it before this year. In fact, I would've missed out entirely if a friend hadn't had it on the night DA sang 'Imagine'.

Me not knowing something or someone in 'pop culture' is very believable. I walk around w/my head in the clouds most of the time.(re: Sanjaya).

What should David sing? I have absolutely no idea! He's been doing just fine picking them so far, so I think I'll stay out of it. I'd probably jinx him.

I'd like to see him win, just because of what a thrill it would be for him to do it. What a trip to be just 17 and win something like AI...Shit. Maybe I should vote!!

At 5/11/2008 09:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chance-I was just browsing one of my favorite DA sites, and man! If you have time, you have got to check this out- it's everything we have been chatting about re. DA, his fans, Buddha nature- all summed up in one article! This dude writes about a million times better than I can, and nails what I have been trying to express on the head! The article is 'WOW', and covers DA's homecoming, and his reaction to it all. The comments that follow sum it all up pretty is you get the chance, Chance!

At 5/13/2008 09:14:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks for the link.

At 5/18/2008 08:02:00 AM, Blogger Sunny said...

What is it about this show that brings out the fan-aticism every year about one cast member or the other?
It may be one of the most interesting things about this show.

This year the crowd that's been behind wee David, a whole sideshow in themselves.

Maybe it's the word "Idol" that brings out the I-need-to-be-worshiping type. :)

At 5/18/2008 03:45:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

it is interesting isn't it? It's also definitely part of the fun.


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