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Friday, March 18, 2011

American Idol: I love your ethnic what-it-izness

This week we said hello to the final 12, after having lost Ashthon Jones last week. Fine, "lost" isn’t exactly the right word since she was clearly only on the show to fill the African-American girl quota. The judges didn’t use their infamous “save,” and we got to see JLo’s disgusted face while the girl sang for her life.

So this week each contestant was tasked to butcher, I mean sing, something from their birth year, and this is the week I start to feel really old. If it were me up there (which I should be, right mom?) I’d be killing “My Sharona” or “Le Freak”, but instead we get to hear songs that I literally remember hearing when they hit the radio. Le sigh. Jimmy Iovene, Chairman of Interscope and his producers, were on-hand to help perfect the kids’ recordings, something AI did right: they got actual producers from actual Interscope Records to act as actual mentors. That decision was either really smart because the iTunes downloads from each night could soar with a professional behind the mixing board, or it was just plain lazy because Lady Gaga had to bow out at the last second because her egg wouldn’t open.

The Good:

James Durbin - 1989 — “I’ll Be There For You” by Bon Jovi
YESSSSSS! Ok, last week James busted out some Judas Priest and now he’s rocking the Bon Jovi?! This kid’s got it good. He’s got Asperger’s AND Tourette’s Sydromes. That’s two major syndromes, and I oughta know because I also watch “House.” So how’s he got it good, you ask? Because this is American Idol and girls and women eat that shit up, son! It’s like when the Asperger’s girl was on “America’s Next Top Model” and even though she couldn’t find her way around foreign countries, she won the competition because the judges were all like “well, she can’t find her way to a go-see, but it’s ok because she’s got Asperger’s.” Ok, so the performance wasn’t THAT awesome. I apologize, God, because I know I’m a horrible person for saying that and I will probably go to hell for telling a special kid that he didn’t sound all that great.

Stefano Langone — 1989 — “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” by Simply Red
Even though Stefano completely butchered the last note (my cats did that thing with their ears that means “No. Whatever that is, it isn’t good,” he kinda nailed the rest of it and RDog totally agreed with me. By the end of the night, Stefano was the absolute best performance, based on singing alone. That’s what it’s all a-bout. Clap clap.

Jacob Lusk — 1987 — “Alone” by Heart
So this kid, in a nutshell, does an amazing drag performance while channeling Odetta and Liza combined. He just doesn’t have the wig to go with the act, but this kid can wail. I mean seriously. If you haven’t seen the YouTube video from his Hollywood Week performance of “God Bless the Child,” then you’re missing out on the single greatest performance EVAR from any of the 10 seasons of AI.

Ok, song review time! In case you aren’t aware, this is one of the most awesome karaoke songs ever, and Jacob just took it to Ebenezer Baptist Church of the Shreaktastic Jebus. Yes, it was all over the place but I still lurved it. After Jacob Luther King, Jr. was done letting his blood spill all over the floor, SteTy produced my favorite quote of all time from AI: “The Gospel had a baby and they named it Jacob Lusk.” Pffffft, whaaaaat? Ok now I think I want some of what Steven’s having.

The Bad:

Paul McDonald - 1984 — “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” by Grandma Elton
Is this guy drunk? Is he unable to stand up straight, like ever? Can this guy walk in a straight line? Does he have that weird neck disorder that Dixie Carter (God rest her soul) talks about in those PSAs? Frankly, I don’t care because look at those TEETH! Wow, my grandmother would’ve been proud if I ever brought that guy over for Easter supper. Anyway, I didn’t really hear any of the song due to his Jimmy Page-like dance moves and Ross-white teeth. RDog basically told him that it sounded like shit, but then compared him to Ray Lamontagne, which is so totally not fair. Ray would be turning over in his grave if he was dead.

Karen Rodriguez - 1989 — “Love Will Lead You Back” by Taylor Dane
*Yawn* Oh look, she sang in Spanish again. Shocker. Yes, mami, we get that you speak Spanish and that’s why the producers love you. You fit the growing demo of Hispanic-Americans who aren’t afraid to subscribe to Nielsen. It’s not at all predictable. At all.

The Results

After a very downloadable mashup of “Born to be Wild” by Seppenwolf and “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, a performance by Lee Dewyze (whom I totally forgot won last year) and a predictably auto-tuned Black Eyed Peas trainwreck, the ones who had to sit on the cold, hard metal Stools of Shame were: Haley Reinhart, because of her not-enough-like-Duffy rendition of “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston; Naima Adedapo for her butchering of “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” by Tina Turner; and, shocker, Karen “Snoozefest” Rodriguez. Really, Karen, you’re gonna pick another early-90s ballad to sing in two different languages? Yeah, the judges were bored, too, and gave her the boot. Love will lead you back … to your podunk hometown.


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