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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Jason Mraz, Jessica Meuse and Alex...Throw the Others Back in the Swaybot Pit

Depending on what happens tomorrow night, this may be my last blog of the season...or the rest of time.  So, I'm going to rant a bit.  What?  You thought I had been ranting all season?  Wait for it.  

First, I want to credit my favorite blogger, Michael Slezak, who blogs on Idol and other TV shows on a site called TV Line.  I would link to it but I cannot make my copy and past function work which is not making me happy.  Suffice it to say, I pretty much agree with this guy all the time and he is hilarious.  He does a webcam chat with Melinda Doolittle every week which always makes me laugh out loud.  I purposely don't read his blog before writing this because I will be tempted to steal from him.  And in fact, I have stolen the next two thoughts from him but am doing so because I don't want you to have to read all of his blogs to find them and I'm nice that way! 

He agrees with me that Jessica Meuse is being unfairly critiqued for her performances.  It is not that he thinks she is flawless..he just believes she gets panned for things they ignore with the other contestants. And, that when they do praise her, they give themselves the credit.  Last week he commented that Sam should be the next to go but then, in a tag line on the webcam, there was a comment:  Who am I kidding...if they have to decapitate Grumpy Cat next week and say Jessica did it to get her off the air, they will (more on this in a moment).  

His next thought, and I have subliminally noticed this but not focused on it until tonight, is that the producers spend more time putting the camera on JLo during the performances (or the crowd) than they do the performers.  Tonight it was particularly bugging me.  What good does it do to tell the audience that the performers are not *connecting* when the people watching the show see JLo bouncing her hair around, giving soulful looks and  shaking her shoulders around to look with it for a good 50% of the performance?  Every now and then they put the camera on Keith, but usually as part of the JLo cam.  Melinda Doolittle believes that its in her contract to get so much camera time.  If so, shame on the producers for agreeing to it and shame on her for demanding it along with the 18 million dollars or so she is getting paid for this.  

Ok...now for the show.  Viewer's choice.  I think, for the most part the viewers did a good job of choosing songs for their favorites.  I'm going to go worst to best.

Sam  He performed after Jessica.  To make sure that Jessica got no mileage from her performance, Ryan asks Sam an audience question.  What is the hardest thing about the competition.  Well this give Sam the opportunity to talk about his dog (and for us to see a picture of it).  Ok, its not decapitating the cat but just in case Jessica might have swayed some voters with her performance, lets turn the sympathy votes on for Sweet Sam and his dog.  His idol (Ariadne someone who is hot right now) also appears handing him the mic.  And Sam sings a song that is supposed to be funky.  I don't even remember the name of it or anything it was about.  Suffice it to say, the only remotely funky thing about this performance was that Keith was desperately trying to make it seem funky by his shoulder swaying.  Rather than tell him it was blah, the judges say it was a *hard song*.   His next song, How To Save A Life, was marginally better.  Except that showing emotion by closing your eyes all the time isn't that effective.  Harry commented on the dynamics meaning variation in the volume.  Sam stays on medium all the time.   I'm over his cuteness.  Its time for him to go home.

Jena   I've been over her for awhile.  She is so friggin smug.  She thinks she is the best *performer* of the group and that it is going to take her far.  My notes on the performance of the song *My Body* are very short.  One word.  Puke.  She is so mannered and I'm not a fan of her little Jenaisms to the audience (*lets go*....so stupid...I always think it smacks of desperation when a performer has to gin up audience excitement with those catch phrases).    Her next performance, of the song Valerie, was just kind of weird to me.  The judges never talk about her connection or lack thereof with the audience. She never stands still long enough to connect and if she is connecting its with the camera showing her own reflection back at her on stage.  And she has already come up with her stage name...one name..Jena.  I hope the whole world calls her Jenna.  Harry was just fueling the self-satisfied monster when he asked her about that.  
Caleb  Yes, I know he got the pimp spot.  Yes, I know he had some good glory notes in his last performance.  But his first performance of I Don't Want to Miss a Thing was a train wreck and the judges were just too kind about it.  He starts off way off time and off key.  He gets the pitch back.  But this song became a dirge with him singing it. Yes, its oversung.  Yes, we are tired of it.  But yes, he sucked singing it.  The last song I really didn't listen to much except to hear the glory notes and see way too much of JLo and Keith rocking and standing while the camera ignored Caleb.  He pissed me off when he started holding the standing mic horizontally like some samurai sword before the first note was played.  Ugg.  He is also way too mannered in his performances.  But...after seeing JLo perform *I luh ya Pappi* I guess I see why the judges don't notice it.  

Alex  IF I continue to watch after Jessica goes home, it will be to see Alex.  He does irk me the way he grimaces. But his performance of Say Something (I call it The Sad Song) was exceptional.  Cannot say anything more about it.  His first song, Sweater Weather, was marginal.  Yes, he remembered the words.  Yes, it was hard to remember those words.  Was it memorable beyond that? Not for me.  

Jessica  She KILLED Human.  KILLED it.  You could almost see the wheels turning in the judges head as they tried to come up with some way to downplay how good she was.  JLo and Keith still want *more* from her.  Harry complimented her on listening to them.  Yes it was good but its because we made you this way.  She had a MOMENT folks.   I'm not a Lana Del Ray fan.  I had not heard the song Summer Sadness.  Having heard Lana Del Ray sing other songs, I have to think that Jessica outsang her.  She got rid of the guitar, she emoted, she moved around the stage.  Still not good enough though.  What does she have to do?  Fall to her knees in tears?  Maybe she could have swayed her arm like she had a glow stick and yelled *lets go*?  Hold the standing mic horizontally? Talk about dynamics.  She had them in both of her performances.  

I think tomorrow she will go home.  Because the producers want her to.   At least it will be on the heels of her best performances yet. 

Now I have to go vote for her!  


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Do We Really Need Another Godzilla Movie?

No we do not.  Do I really need to watch Idol next week?  No, I do not.  Because we know what will happen.  Caleb and Jena will get judge and Randy love.  Sam will be coddled some more and Alex will be praised as the artiste no matter what he does.  And Jessica could give a Clarkson or Underwood worthy performance and be damned with faint praise, thereby assuring she is next to go.  I'm just happy she made it to the top 5 because she will earn a little more money on the tour.  And perhaps she can book better venues once the tour is over.  But she is not going to last in this milieu.  

Poor CJ.  I was sad to see him go but it was his time.  Sweet sweet man.

So next week it will be more Meat Loaf/ Jack Black impersonations from  Caleb.  More histrionics from Jena Irene.  More blushes from Sam and more foot tapping/leg spasms and mouth twisting from Alex.   

Jessica, just stand there and sing.  

And, note to Idol wannabees.  Women over 17 need not apply.  They will suck out your soul.  

Am I bitter?  Well yes, I am.  Will I get over it?  Well yes, I will.  

There is always the 62nd remake of Godzilla  to look forward to.

And please, quit torturing that poor cat!    

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Its a Little Bit Caleb and a Little Bit Jena Irene

Does anyone doubt how this season will end?  It will be Caleb and Jena in the finale and Caleb will win because..well..he is a man.  Or maybe Jena will win because after all, Jordin Sparks beat Blake Lewis so lightning could strike twice.   When that happens, you are on your own because I will be too bored to watch and I really will not care.  

I think the producers ought to have given Donny and Marie some credit for the theme.  Probably half of the viewers have no idea where the theme came from because they were not alive in 1976-1979 when the Donny and Marie show aired.  Fourteen year old Marie would come out singing *I'm a Little Bit Country* and then 16 or 17 year old Donny would bounce in singing *and I'm a Little Bit Rock and Roll*.  The show was a big hit with lots of skits and singing and dancing by guest stars in the now obsolete *variety* format.  It was a simpler time.  

So...the theme was co-opted by Idol with no attribution and we get the top 6 doing their best to wow the voters because if you finish in the top 5 you make more money on the tour.  But really, the only two the judges/producers cared about were Jena and Caleb.  They consider the others fodder now and it really doesn't matter to them what they do.

It still sort of matters to me so I will give you MY take on the night. 

Jena starts with Barricuda and the band was so loud and her pitch was so low that I didn't really hear her voice except on the glory notes.  I know she is good.  I know she will be in the top 2.  That doesn't mean I have to like it.  She bores me.  BORES me.  JLo and Keith were bouncing and rockin' away in their seats.  They loved it.  Harry wasn't rockin but he loved it too.  Love love love all around. I'm just glad she went first so I don't have to dread her appearance for awhile. 

Sam sings a song called (I think) Its Time.  He has improved on his connecting and what is not to like about his voice.  Harry says he is blossoming, Keith wants a little more gravitas, and JLo got her goosies.  Once again JLo and Keith cannot stay in their chairs they love it so much.  

CJ Harris sings American Woman.  Oh CJ, I think this might be your week to go home.  It was a serviceable performance but a little slow and very little connection going on.  JLo and Keith were still rockin in their seats.  Harry said it was *pretty good*.   I say CJ better deliver on the 2nd song because this was not nearly a moment.

Alex comes out and does a song I do not know which I think was called Animals.  I thought he sort of threw away this performance and all I could think was *at least it is not coffeehouse*.  Once again JLo and Keith are bouncing away.  The judges were not real enthusiastic about it but they did not trash him.  

At the commercial break I was wondering...*where's Randy?*.  Oh, here he is for a blessedly brief 3 seconds.  

Well, Caleb is the rock star of this group so of course he is going to knock this song out of the park.  The crowd went wild.  Keith and JLo about wet their pants in excitement.   To me it was the same as his other performances.  I missed the part where the standing mic he is always picking up and dragging about like he is the first performer to every think of it got away from him.  I do not really have the patience to look at a replay of this to see it happen. I would only watch it if it smacked him in the mouth.   I don't know the song and didn't bother to figure out the title.  I think one of the lyrics was *Can you stand me*.  No, I cannot stand you.  Maybe those aren't the words.  Maybe I just wanted them to be the words so I could talk back to him.  Arrg.  I cannot say anything nice about Caleb.  Not one little thing.  He is such a parody of himself.  If Phillip Seymour Hoffman was going to play a rocker character with no redeeming virtues, he would model it on Caleb.  Well, if PSH was alive to play a character that is. 

So, I was thinking they finally gave Jessica the pimp spot. But after the Caleb love-fest, I'm thinking they gave her the pimp spot so people can say she wasn't as good as Caleb.  I thought it was one of her best performances.  I love that song. She made a good choice because she is a bit Grace Slick in attitude (she could have had more attitude but she has improved).  The vocals were flawless.  Harry is finally over wanting her to move around and dance.  He was happy with the performance.  Keith and JLo (who all of the sudden became mannequins in their seats during this performance) focused on what she did wrong and not on what she did right. 

OK...now for the country part.  Really, country should have gone first because for the most part, the rocker part was the best part of the show.  

Sam breaks some hearts with Your Still the One.  He is showing one or two facial expressions besides fear.  According to the judges he is a walking miracle of transformation and growth.   He was fine.  He didn't melt my heart but I'm not easy. 

Ryan is holding Grumpy Cat.  Caleb kisses Grumpy Cat on the head.  Hah...I bet Caleb hates cats. Nothing he does is not a show.  He sings Undo It by Carrie Underwood and turns it into a rock song.  He hangs on to the mic this time.  Blah. 

Alex sings Willie Nelson's You Were Always On My Mind.  One of Willie's very best (his very best is Crazy).   I loved the first part when Alex sang it pretty straight, just a little slower tempo.  I didn't love the frills he added.  Willie doesn't do frills and the person conveying that message wouldn't do frills either.  Alex's voice was good.  He will go home in 3rd place.

Here comes Queen Jena Irene singing So Small by Carrie Underwood.  Blah.  Harry didn't like it.  I almost forgive Harry for putting that girl on his shoulders now.  

CJ sang a song called Whatever It Is and whatever it was was pretty horrible.  I couldn't understand too many of the words and basically, he should go home because of it. What a wasted opportunity.  He should have sung Crazy.

I was really worried when I read that Jessica was singing Jolene.  That song has been the death of some of my favorites.  Simon crucified Brooke White when she sang it.   A lesser known contestant called Alexis Grace sang it and I believe was sent home the next night just missing the tour.   I think Jessica finally hit a home run on this one despite Keith hating the arrangement.  I am not musically sophisticated to know how the arrangement was changed (something about the 1/2 time?) but I loved it.  It WAS dark.  It should be a dark song.  Some poor woman is losing the man she loves to a vixen.  I think Jessica will be safe.  Which reminds me.  I need to go vote for her.  

So...not a bad show tonight.  I'm so grateful my head has finally gone back to normal and I could somewhat enjoy it (well except for the Jena and Caleb parts).  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

At Least One More Week

Yay...Jessica is safe.  I didn't observe this but posters on Slezak's blog said the judges looked pissed and Keith actually mouthed *no way* when they announced that Dexter was going home.  

I thought Dexter should have gone home about 4 weeks ago although I must admit he has improved a tiny bit.  He seems like a decent guy.  I wish him well.

I am not wishing the judges well for piling on Jessica each week while not criticizing others for the same things she does.  I hope next week she goes back to playing her guitar and singing.  Screw the shuffle and dance.  She's not on So You Think You Can Dance and she is not even on the lesser product, Dancing With the Stars.  She is a singer/songwriter.  Let her sing.

By the way, I'm not the only one thinking Jessica is getting a raw deal.  Slezak and his followers generally agree with me.    

Does Idol Give Me a Headache?

I started to watch the show last night and quit after 2 performances.  I did have another headache but I was really also just not looking forward to hearing the performances of the remaining contestants.  I thought the judges were unduly harsh on Jessica but I suppose I am not very objective about her.  They want her to move around, she moves around, but she doesn't do it with a shuffle and rhythm.  Funny they don't tell Alex to move around.  Did Keith actually tell her just to *stand there and deliver?* or something like that?  They want her gone.  

We will see if she survives tonight.  I hope so.  If she does not I think I may end watching and blogging simply because the rest of them do nothing for me and their performances are just not that great.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Helloooo? You are Not David Cook.

Tonight is a combined blog because once again I was felled by a migraine last night and couldn't manage to think clearly enough to write a decent recap of the show.  Now that we know the results, this blog will be rather anti-climactic but I had a few thoughts I wanted to share..assuming there is anyone out there still reading! 

First, I don't know how much Harry had to drink last night but he needs to stop his antics post-haste.  A little bit of joking is fine but he is getting tedious.  I don't know what the bit with the girl on his shoulders was except unseemly.  When it distracts from the judging (and it did for nearly every. single. contestant.) we are going into Nicki Minage land.  Cut the sauce, cut the caffiene, cut whatever you are on Harry and get back to the pentatonic scale please! 

Ah...David Cook...my all time favorite winner (I didn't watch the first 5 seasons so sorry Kelly and Carrie).  For the first time since the infamous *rush week*, the contestants actually had a mentor giving them solid advice.  Too bad he only had them for a day.  I think the producers know they are in trouble with this crop which just hasn't bloomed and doesn't seem likely to ever bloom with Randy Jackson's fertilizer every week.  They are ALL underperforming. 

There is a lot of criticism on line about the Sam save.  I'm not going to pile on with that except to say I don't like the save at all.  Now the judges are invested in making saving Sam seem sound instead of silly.  More on Sam soon.

Caveat on my critique:  I stopped listening to the pop radio in the fall of 1982.  I was no longer a student and I didn't have time for it.   I knew most of these songs but not really well and some of them because they have been performed on Idol so often.   

Jena performed first.  She is strongest at the piano but her *unique* arrangement of I Love Rock And Roll was not that unique.  She only really was good when she got going with the choruses.  I didn't understand a word of the verse lyrics she was growling.

They gave Dexter the *death spot*.  David Cook noted he cannot enunciate.  Dexter was excited about his guitar *solo* (which wasn't a solo).  He was advised to walk while playing his guitar *solo*.  He walked but stopped playing to glad hand the swaybots.  I hate the swaybots. I hate the glad handing.  I didn't know the song and I don't care.  Dexter put on his *I'm not with stupid...I am stupid* backwards feedlot cap again.   I hated so much about the logistics and the wardrobe I didn't really focus on his singing.  

I'm not even going to talk about the duets.  None of them were worth watching.   

Malaya, who was eliminated tonight (and rightly so) sang Chaka Khan's Through the Fire.  The judges were kind to her (probably Harry passed out for a few moments).  It was not good.  It was not even a hot mess like coffee spilled on your desk.  It was a steaming molten mass of manure dumped on our top step set on fire by the neighborhood prankster.  No one is going through that fire.  She was all over the place...screaming missed notes...not pleasant to listen to or watch despite her hoop earrings.  I like the girl but she deserved to go home.

David Cook picked up on Jessica's problem of singing perfectly but not looking like she is having fun doing it.  The girl tried, she really did.  She sang fine.  She moved her legs, she tried to smile at the audience and the camera.  At first I thought the judges were a little hard on her but then I remembered Hayley Reinhardt's Call Me and they were not.  I was a little worried about her being in the bottom three this week (and she may have been since we only know the bottom 2).  She is still my favorite of this wilting crop.  

Oh Sam the Saved....he can sing...he even messed with the arrangement but he did not improve on his connection even with the herd of swaybots surrounding him.  Hey producers, I have a great idea.  Take a shy kid who is self-conscious performing and put him in the middle of a pack of screaming tween girls singing *Time After Time*.   I'm surprised he didn't run screaming off the stage.  The judges said he connected better.  The judges were trying to save face for screwing up the save.

Alex...I don't hate you anymore but I am about done with your acoustic re-arrangements.  The only coherent comment Harry made last night was to suggest that maybe you needed to move beyond the coffee house vibe.  JLo was right...you messed with Every Breath You Take too much.  But given what everyone else did...it was probably one of the top performances of the night.

CJ did Free Fallin and he is free falling from this competition.  I'm not going to pile on.  I like the guy.  I don't even remember if he was in pitch or not.  He deserved to be in the bottom 2.  

How many times has that hack rocker Caleb had the pimp spot this season?  I think this makes at least 3.  I'm done with him.  I was done even before he made a crack about *making old ladies cry*.  This old lady is only crying because you got away with that posing insincere performance.  It wasn't that good.  It didn't warrant the smartphone from Keith.  Admitting you were *putting on your baby face* to fool people into thinking you have an ounce of concern about anything but Caleb was the cherry on top of the icing on the cake for me.  NOTHING you will do will redeem you in my eyes and if you are the last person standing I will be crying tears of anger.  (Well...not really...but it sounds good).

I hope next week is better.  I hope my headaches go away.  I hope for a lot of things I'm too old to keep hoping for.  


Thursday, April 3, 2014


Well, I know how to pick a week off.  It looks like I missed a good show last night and tonight I missed the final moments due to a phone call.  Sam is saved.  I haven't watched a replay but I suppose they might as well use it now as later.  Glad Jessica was safe.  I'm beginning to think Harry doesn't like her much.  I'm still not a huge fan of Caleb and Dexter.  Jena is fine and will probably win but I'm not that fond of her music either.   Oh well....at least this season is not the debacle of last season.  The judges are good, funny, and the kids seem nicer than usual...if not as talented as usual.  

Hope next week is a good week and that I'm over this stupid headache!  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Blogger Down

No Blog tonight...I have a bad migraine and could not watch the show.