What a week! For the first time in 48 years, the Wichita State Shockers are going to the final 4! It is nearly unbelievable and even if they fare no better than they did in 1965 (coming in 4th of the 4) its a major achievement for the program, the city, the fans and most of all for the players! I vividly remember watching the final 4 games on TV in 1965 (they were televised in black and white) when the tallest player on the team was 6'5" and towered above the rest. And even if the new Shocker fight song is rap crap...I'm still rooting for them to win!
Oh, you want to know about American Idol? Well hell's bells! Even if you have no idea what the Final 4 is, the above paragraph is more interesting than the rest of this blog will be and the rest of this blog will be far more interesting than the show tonight.
The bloom is not only off the rose on Idol...the rose is dead and tonight proved it. The producers stack the line up with ballad singers and subpar male talent and then throw them a theme week of *Classic Rock...No Ballads*. Well, as we shall see, the *No Ballads* rule was not taken very seriously and we were served a crock of psuedo rock by a 4 balladeers, 2 country singers, and an R&B diva. Only two explanations for this theme: a) Idol's ever dwindling audience has complained about all the ballads; and b) let's lose Lazaro. Right before the show, as I was contemplating how Lazaro would probably fail, I was thinking...I hope he pulls off some magic tonight and actually does well. Sometimes, my wishes come true.
The show starts with Burnell who is the only guy left in the competition who has even an ice cube's chance in hell of making the finale. Tonight he was in hell, singing a Bon Jovi song and trying to move around the stage like a rocker to *You Give Love a Bad Name* He did his best to take the tempo down ballad speed but it just sounded middling. His voice was OK but his stage presence was not. Keith was laughing at the end of the performance and tried to say it was because of Burnell's weird little kick at the end of the song but I think Keith was probably laughing about 1/5 of the way in. This was not Burnell's night and I suspect he will be in the bottom 2 (of course, he was probably going to be there anyway) what with the bad critique and going first.
Up next is a duet by Lazaro and Angie (who has her polygamy hair extensions back on tonight). I had to check my notes to see what they sang because I totally blanked this performance except remembering that Lazaro once again forgot the words. It was *A Crazy Little Thing Called Love* by Queen. Nicki called them Ken and Barbie and Keith said it was variety showish. I think they looked like Ken and Barbie from hell and the only interesting thing about it was Lazaro forgetting the words.
Kree is up next singing Janis. Piece of My Heart is my favorite Janis song...ever...even over Bobby McGee. I cannot count the number of times I sang this song off-key after too many beers at the Beer Garden in Lawrence in 1979-1980. Fortunately, about 5 other people joined in so I hope I was drowned out by their voices because I'm sure I sounded like hell. Kree does a good job but dang I want her to OVERSING! I curse Jimmy for telling her not to oversing. This song should be oversung! Still...it was one of the only good performances of the night. Keith senses that Kree is not quite up to par since she seemed a bit subdued to him and wonders if it is her high heeled boots, but we learn she has a pinched nerve. I bet it hurts like hell.
Next Candice and Burnell do *The Letter* which I would not exactly call classic Rock but at least it is up tempo. Burnell starts off really well considering how bad his solo was, and then Candice enters and blows him off the stage. But the real *star* of this duet was the brass section which drowned out their best harmonies and made me want to scream *shut the brass the hell up*. Someone should be shot for letting the brass overshadow their voices.
Janelle is up next and Ryan announces she is going to sing Billy Joel's Piano Man. I have no idea what the name of the song she sang was but I will see you in hell if it was Piano Man. She is really getting better and better each week. Keith must be consciously trying to drive Nicki crazy because he is talking about fashion tonight and points out how great Janell's boots are. He also says she is a contender. Nicki wants to have Janelle's boots and I bet you dollars to donuts she walked away with them after the show and doesn't pay Janelle for them. Janelle gave one of the better performances tonight in my opinion.
Ok here comes Lazaro and he is singing *We Are the Champions*. Now this is a ballad but hey...they were trying to give Lazaro a hell week so I'm glad he is bending or breaking the rules. He actually does the song justice. Ok, he's not Freddy Mercury but who is? Sorry producers, Lazaro will not be going home tomorrow even if he did crack a joke about country people having no teeth and probably alienated the state of Tennessee if not every agricultural state in the union. They weren't voting for him anyway.
Amber, Janelle and Kree trio up to do Billy Joel's *Its Still Rock and Roll to Me*. It wasn't a moment but it was fine. Nicki hated it and she probably had a point. It is kind of a simpy song but I'm not going to send the trio to hell for singing it.
Candice comes out and I'm excited because she is actually singing The Rolling Stone's I Can't Get No Satisfaction...a real rock song. She tells us up front she has a broken toe as a result of teaming up with Burnell to play a practical joke on Lazaro. Like he needs to be bullied some more. It really does serve her right and she is lucky she can confess now before she dies and goes straight to hell. This performance disappoints me. Its not just that she isn't moving around as much due to the broken toe...she isn't using her voice in extraordinary ways like she usually does. Nicki said she fell asleep during the performance (or maybe it was the trio). It wasn't that bad but it wasn't Candice's best and she might not get as many votes this week as she usually does.
Amber is up next. Evidently, Amber is a bit vain these days due to the extreme makeover she has undergone this season in terms of her hair, makeup and wardrobe. All of which is duly praised by everyone on the panel. She sings what I consider to be a ballad too...*What About Love* by Heart. Nicki wakes up but I fall asleep. Yes, Amber's voice is good and she wasn't hell to listen to but she wasn't heaven either. Maybe purgatory or limbo?
And now, my moment of hell arrives on stage. Angie with the polygamy hair. For the last 4-5 weeks they have been telling her to get back to her piano so she does, as she sings one of the few songs popular in the last 15-20 years which I am familiar with and happen to love...*Wake Me Up* by Evanescence. But she cannot stay there long because she cannot play the song on the piano. Not to worry, Angie lovers are treated to another dramatic performance complete with eye flirting, booty swaying, and the coup de grace...the fan blowing her polygamy hair all around. I want to vomit in my shoes but it is my last good pair of house slippers and I may need them for a few more weeks as it is still a little cold here. Randy, Mariah, and Nicki are all praising her but Keith hits the nail on the head...in a nice way...saying she needs to *feel the song* so she isn't worried about how she looks or how she stands. In other words...quit being a fake!
I was going to comment on all the cute little things the contestants had to say about each other but at this point, I'm sort of sick of them all. A friend of mine, who also follows Idol, told me to turn into the Voice this week because she thought I would enjoy it more than Idol. Since she has been bossing me around since I was 7, I did what she told me and she was right (she usually is). The positive nature of the Voice format, the judges who like each other, the talent....all of it made me realize that Idol is going to hell in a hand basket and sadly, this may be the last year I watch it.
You may wonder what the hell has happened to my language as I normally am not such a prolific hell user. Since the powers that be on the Idol forum board banned me for using the word hell in a QUOTATION by a NOTED AUTHOR... and haven't seen fit to reinstate me or even respond to my emails to the account they instruct you to email if you have been banned...I have decided this is my blog and I'll do what I want to even if it means using the word hell in every paragraph. And I hope their servers crash and burn in hell.
I can only suggest that you find The Voice this Monday and you will be happily surprised.