First, I have a confession to make and maybe to you all its obvious...I'm not that into this season of Idol. Maybe its Nicki Minaj, maybe it was the Zoanetta farce, maybe I miss WGWG or maybe its because I've evidently been banned from the Idol forums and they will not respond to my emails and reinstate me as they have in years passed...and if I have been banned it was for a really stupid reason and they should be ashamed of themselves. I will cry to you all about that in a moment. But maybe you are not that into Idol this season either which means I'm typing into outerspace here.
As I'm getting myself situated to watch the show, with my pen and paper and non-alcoholic beverage next to me, I'm thinking...*even the themes are boring this year*. Motown has been done as much as Lennon/McCartney and while I love Motown music, I'm ready for something new. The show starts with a paean to Detroit, the Motor City, which obviously doesn't disclose that the city is in receivership due to decades of financial mismanagement and incompetent, if not corrupt, governance. At least they didn't solicit donations.
The judges come out 2 x 2, as usual, making it obvious that Mariah and Nicki still hate each other's guts and this irritates me. Ryan appears. Is it just me or has his break up with that Hough woman made him seem a little tense the past 2 weeks? Ryan explains that the theme is not just Motown but any artist *from Detroit*. Lets hope there is no Eminem. The extras come out and I am pleased to see that Kree is in the pimp spot. Candice is going first which will not diminish her star power and they give Lazaro the #2 death spot.
Ryan says he smells Mariah's perfume and she starts acting up brandishing something on a stick for some reason and she won't shut up and is still acting up as they lead into....
Smokey Robinson. I like Smokey even though with all his bad face lifts, he is looking more and more like Joan Rivers everyday. He seems like a good guy with the extras so I'll cut him some slack.
Candace starts with I Heard It Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye and Smokey makes sure she knows that his group originally recorded it. Its another good uptempo song for Candice and she nails it as usual. There is really nothing clever or unique to say about Candice. I love her singing and I love her personality. If she wins, I will not be sad.
Kree and Janelle do a duet of Madonna's Like A Prayer. This explains the expanded theme and I'm thinking *WTF are they having country singers sing Madonna for?* Well, they do just fine. I wouldn't rank this up there with the best ever duets sung on Idol, but it wasn't a fail and it very well could have been with that song choice and these singers. Nicki says Kree stole the show from Janelle, Randy agrees and Mariah counters Nicki by commenting on the sisterhood between Janelle and Kree (is this a dig at Nicki for not being a sisterly co-star?) and having each other's backs. Keith says he's not going to judge who sang better. I'm just glad Angie wasn't there to spoil the stew.
They announce that Lazaro is singing Stevie Wonder's *For Once In My Life* and my face does this *oh I'm so skeptical of that choice* twist. Hardly anyone does Stevie Wonder justice on this show...I cannot think of one Stevie Wonder cover I have liked in all the seasons I've been watching but maybe you can. Maybe I don't really like Stevie Wonder's music all that much. Smokey tells him to sing songs he loves, Jimmy is sour faced but grudgingly complimentary at Lazaro's rehearsal sesson, and Lazaro comes out and gives it the best he can give. Which is better than last week and enough to get him through this week. There is a ton of Lazaro hate on the boards for getting the sympathy vote but all couched in very self-righteous passive aggressive tones like *well I admire him for his struggle* but *he wouldn't want you to vote out of sympathy*. Tee70 responded that it was rather presumptous to act like you know what Lazaro wants and to think voters are only voting out of sympathy. A couple of us said we were going to vote for Lazaro just to spite the Lazaro haters. And I did vote for him 2x tonight. There is a theory that the reason they did not announce the top 3 last week is because the 3rd person besides Kree, Candice, or Angie was Lazaro. Its not unthinkable given the harsh treatment by Jimmy he has been receiving. I didn't love his performance but it made me smile that he was doing better.
Janelle was perhaps the surprise of the night. I love the Supremes and I love that song...which was a hit when I was a freshman in highschool and I thought some guy was playing with my heart. She said she did the arrangement when she was 14 so this song must have a certain resonance with 14 year old girls. I thought it was wonderful and that Keith's comment that she sang it with angst instead of the sort of half-anger poutiness of the original was spot on. I think she will pick up some votes tonight. Nicki wasn't as impressed and I get the feeling she is in a pissy mood tonight...maybe Mariah's perfume was giving her a headache or maybe Mariah's grabbing some attention is getting her cranky.
Ok, Devin is not on my even mediocre list anymore and I'm ready for him to go home. Tracks of My Tears is of course a classic and he sang it woodenly and slow and made weird choices about where to sing his falshitto. It wasn't horrible but I didn't think it was noticeably better than Lazaro's performance. But that is not why I'm ready for him to go home.
Ok...now we get Amber, Angie and Candice singing the Supreme's *I'm Gonna Make You Love Me*. Candice looked like she really wanted to be anyplace but there and I don't blame her. Angie wanted to flirt with the audience and did some *see how sexy I am* shoulder and butt moves in her hot pants which looked fake and forced. The performance was just ok and a waste of Candice's talent. I cannot recall which judge commented or what they said. I was full of disgust at Angie and not focusing.
With Burnell, I decided I'm in bizarro world. He is dressed like the ice cream man in all white and is singing *My Cherie Amour* which is another Stevie Wonder song and to me a strange choice for him but he is from Louisiana and probably has some French blood in him somewhere up the line. Smokey tells him to sing it softly and he says he will but then he doesn't. His vaunted tone to me sounded like he was on helium tonight..squeaky and whiny. And it sounded like he was singing *my sherreee amourm* I swear there was an M on the end of some of those lines. The judges were all over him with love and I thought it was a big clunker. I DO like that he doesn't over melisma and over falshitto but to me something sounded very off about him tonight.
Angie, the suck up that she is, is going to do *Shop Around* by Smokey and his Miracles because she wants to show her fun side. She doesn't seem to realize that Smokey wrote the song as well as sung it but he subtly reminds her of this. I sense a debacle when neither Smokey or Jimmy are really jumping for joy during her rehearsal. Jimmy tells her its not *My Fair Lady* and we get another story from her about her vaunted high school theatrical career where she was in that musical along with a photo of her. Yes...you and about 500,000 other young women who played Eliza Doolittle in high school productions. So she starts and there are 2 or 3 band members that she is shaking her booty at while she sings and she does the Marilyn Monroe thing where she puts her hand over her breasts and this is just awful. At one point she loses the diction (she had long ago lost the pitch) and she is singing *Chop Chop Chop* around and I'm thinking...oh honey...you just gave me my blog title. I would like to chop you from this competition, chop your polygamy hair, and chop your ego back to reality. The judges ARE back in reality and agree with me that it was not that good. Nicki is particularly harsh on her, telling her we didn't need to see that side of her. (I personally don't want to see ANY side of Angie, any more.) Mariah says she looks great (shades of Paula) and that she wanted her to sing another song at the piano. Even Keith has a hard time saying anything positive. I'm in heaven because the worm has turned somewhat on her and maybe they realize that her *undeniable talent* is pretty limited.
Poor Amber. I like her. She has a wonderful voice and she seems like a great young woman who is not too full of herself. She sings another Stevie Wonder song, *Lately* which I'm not familiar with (I told you I'm not a big Stevie Wonder fan) and the judges give her a Standing O. I thought it was fine but I wasn't feeling it like they were. She needs the votes this week, so I'm going to give the judges a pass for this. Mariah calls it a Tour de Force and then insults the room and the viewers by saying *does anyone know what that means?* Mariah is on happy juice tonight or maybe has decided she is going to take the panel back from Nicki. It is either her birthday or anniversary so maybe she's already been into the champagne. Nicki is still harping on the pink lipstick. The girl is not going to wear clown lipstick like you Nicki...she just isn't... and people would hate it if she did, so get over it.
So..the boys come out and sing the Four Tops *Sugar Pie Honey Bunch*. I thought it was ok, but evidently I wasn't paying close attention because Nicki tells them they sang like it was Hollywood Week and orders them to get off the stage. Ok, Nicki, you have gone too bleeping far. Even Simon didn't go that far. (Mariah's high spirits must really be getting to Nicki). Ryan gives them a chance to defend themselves and Burnell says he knew his part but he is not going to throw anyone under the bus (I think he just did). Devin comes right out and says he was trying to save a couple of people and since there are only 2 guys on stage with him, I guess he means Burnell and Lazaro. I'm not sure but at one point either during the performance or just after it, Devin actually elbowed Lazaro and not in a brotherly way. Lazaro says he didn't know the words very well. I think Devin just sealed his fate. He is gone gone gone and he should be.
Ok, the highlight of my night is coming on next. Kree is singing Aretha's *Don't Play That Song* and Smokey is in love with her. I think she did a great job...although sometimes I wish she would belt just a little bit more...Jimmy has told her not to oversing and she has never oversung so he needs to get off her back about that and let her go with her instincts. I didn't know this song but I'm glad Kree got rave reviews from Smokey, Jimmy, and the judges (and probably Aretha when she hears it).
Nicki has more to say and I think it was a jab at Mariah because she tells Kree she is a Queen for standing next to a beautiful woman who can sing and not being intimidated or insecure and holding her own (as she has presumably done with Mariah). Except Nicki won't stand next to Mariah and she is the one who has come across as insecure, needy and wholly unprofessional this season. Mariah just jabbers a bit much. I actually liked Mariah being a little rambunctious tonight because it took the spotlight off of Nicki.
Ok...here is why I think I was banned from the official American Idol site's forum boards. We can put a little signature line after our posts and I quoted one of my favorite authors, Dorothy Parker, whose famous line was *What fresh hell is this?* I really thought that after some of the stuff we've heard this season on the program...Nicki's been bleeped more than once...Jimmy's been bleeped and tonight Mariah was bleeped...the word and its context was not that offensive but who knew?
So...maybe they will let me back on...maybe not. They have ignored 2 of my emails so far so that is not a good sign. I'm thinking I need to start watching The Voice!