Saturday, February 23, 2008

American Idol - C. Crumpet Swank on the Top 12 Boys


General notes:

  • Everyone knows I am a big Paula fan, but she looked terrible both nights--really tired. And her commentary was particularly inarticulate; again, on both nights. She came across as slow-witted.
  • I appreciated that they gave the judges quite a bit of time to comment; moreso than usual, I thought.
  • Simon was frank, accurate and a breath of fresh air, keeping the criticism tethered in reality. I particularly liked how he repeatedly presented his comments in relation to the large enterprise of the show and the concept of being a professional singer and/or pop idol. Out of 24 performances there were perhaps only two where I felt he missed the boat.
Performances

  • David Hernandez - Totally agree with Terry and Simon--he started off incredibly strong and then just got weaker. He seemed really nervous and it hampered his performance. Its odd that he got more nervous as the song went on, particularly since he started so well. He has a strong Yamin-like voice; he needs to get more comfortable on stage.
  • Chikezie Eze - He has one of the best voices among the guys but his performance was so "fake"--the constant smile, faux suavity, etc.--that it really prevented me from enjoying his voice. Plus, the song itself was kind of schmaltzy and boring. Add all that together with the ghetto suit (he's from Inglewood--five minutes from my house--and I bet you I know where he got his threads!) and I was left cold. His indignation at Simon's comments were beyond the pale, too. Shut up, Chikezie! Listen graciously and fume privately. Lastly, I don't like the hubris of him eliminating his last name and simply going by "Chikezie." Who the hell does he think he is? Plus, part of the fun is that his first name rhymes so niftily with his last name--he should be happy for that. Everyone likes to say "Chikezie Eze"--it makes the mouth feel good. "Chikezie"--not so much. And let's be real; at the end of the day, there are only two people who really deserve to get away with the one-word name--Cher and Madonna. (Then again, when Mary finally releases "Licky, Licky" I am going to encourage her to take the single-moniker route.)
  • David Cook - I like him. I like how gave this song such an original treatment. He pushes through a bit; doesn't have the best voice among the men, but that's okay since his showmanship, ease, and personality contribute a great deal. He reminds me of Nadia Turner in this way. Terry's right about the hair.
  • Jason Yeager - Boring! Boring! Boring! Nice, yet totally unremarkable voice. Simon's comments were spot on. This is not Perry Como Idol. What a wasted opportunity for this guy. He blew it.
  • Robbie Carrico - I think his voice is really good, and he's confident. A real natural performer. I admired too that he didn't go over the top--his restraint worked to his advantage. Nice arrangement for the song, too. I think he will be this season's Chris Richardson--reliable and improving every week. Only downside--that massive underbite seriously cuts down on the cuteness factor.
  • David Archuletta - Our first pube-free winner of Idol? But seriously, he's really cool! He gets into the song so deeply and commits so fully and it's so fun watching that level of poise and hearing that great voice come from that unassuming package. If you told me he was 12 I would believe you. Second only to Castro this evening.
  • Danny Noriega - I totally disagree with Simon and Terry. I thought this was one of the best performances of the night and he is safe. Danny looked great with the skinny-wear and had tremendous showmanship; I was totally invested in the performance. And that was probably the most difficult song to sing of the night because it's so wordy and demands such high energy. I thought he pulled it off beautifully and "made it his own." ;-) Now we need to hear him sing a song which lets him have more freedom with his voice. I also thought his head snap to Simon was endearing--sassy, but not petulant. It was meant be funny, not disgruntled, and he pulled it off. He needs to not push it too much though--the sass factor, that is. Because you know girlfriend can dish it up!
  • Luke Menard - Wake me up when it's over. So boring! And unlike Yeager, Luke seemed tentative with his vocals. Randy was right about him never settling comfortably into the song. The only thing that is going to save him this week is his looks. If he sticks around this week he will certainly not make it to the overall Top 12.
  • Colton Berry - Solid but not amazing. I will be curious to see if/how he can develop over the course of the show. Please youtube me when he shows up on Ellen.
  • Garrett Haley - This kid freaks me out. He looks like a feminine version of Melissa Etheridge crossed with Geddly Lee! His non-singing presense is totally awkward and socially retarded. What a mess! He struck me as the kind of outcast/misfit from whom Columbine-like things occur. I couldn't disagree more strenuously with Terry about Garrett getting tons of teeny bopper girl votes. He (Garrett, not Terry) is like a socially maladjusted hermaphrodite--even eleven-year old girls will have the good sense to stay away from him. Why, Terry, why? Just because he has an abundance of hair? Lank, mousey, poorly-cut hair? Please don't insult the girls of America with your underestimation of their taste in boys. Also note too that his left eye sits much higher in his head than his right. That same phenomenon works for Shannon Doherty, but not here, I'm afraid. The ever-so-slight dander over the upper lip--eeewwww. His girly speaking voice--no thanks. Lest you thing I'm some sort of meanie, I aver that I could put all of these social and visual miscues aside if he was an amazing singer, but, let's face it, he also turned in the weakest vocal performance of the night! No one came close. How on earth did he make it into the Top 24?!?!?
  • Jason Castro - Totally, completely, utterly charming. His face just lights up when he sings. You want to watch. He's clearly invested in the music. Forgive me if this sounds corny, but you can tell music is key to his heart and soul; that being a pop star is almost neither here nor there for him. He just loves and respects music and feels privileged to share it and live it. How refreshing! [In some ways he reminds me of Taylor without all the down-in-the-Delta flourishes.] The best male performance of the night
  • Michael Johns - I totally agree with Terry. It was okay--it just doesn't compare with the original. Not nearly as good as his Bohemain Rhapsody. His weakest performance of the four we've seen thus far. But he has charisma, charm and good looks in spades, and we know he can sing from the previous episodes. A definite frontrunner. He's like a cross between Pat Monahan of Train and Michael Hutchence. Delicious!

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