Oh, it's that time again! Another round of "American Idol." I pick up the TiVo controller with trepidation. Ryan Seacrest acts like it was a travesty that Nikko Smith lost out last week, but Nikko deserved to go. Seacrest chides us: "Watching the show without voting is like starting a conversation with Randy: pointless." Obviously, he knows nothing of the pleasures of blogging a crap-ass TV show.
What's the theme tonight? Ryan tells us: "Songs from the year you were born. Remember your birthday?" What the hell kind of question is that? If you can't remember your birthday, I'd suggest sitting home on a comfy sofa and just watching the big show.
First up, Nadia Turner. Born in 1977. I guess I wasn't paying enough attention in 1977, because this song means nothing to me, but Nadia's huge hair and drapey, ultra-short, red dress mean a lot. Still, I'm bored out of my skull with this song. The word "dream" is in it. And the words "come true" are in the last line, after which she gives a syrupy smile. Ha! Randy doesn't know the song either. "It's from Crystal Gayle." Paula wows over the look, but the song: umm... Simon says "That was musical wallpaper." Seacrest: "Of all the songs in that year, why did you pick that one?" Answer: dreamy, dreams, dreeeeeemssssss, I'm a dreeeemer.....
Bo Bice is going to sing "Free Bird." 1975. I am so up for this! Randy and Paula love it, but Simon advises him to "use the rock influence on your voice on well-known songs." "Free Bird" isn't well known??? "Free Bird" is iconic! Simon says it's a "sacred song" that you shouldn't "run all over the stage" singing. So it's "sacred" but not "well-known"? Simon speaks in a very self-consciously rational way, but sometimes he says something that just doesn't make sense. What did he mean? I do agree, however, that Bo shouldn't roam about so much. And I like the way, when Ryan tried to hold his hand, Bo jerked his hand away.
I start thinking about what songs would be available to me, if I could be on the show. I'm way too old and I'm a horrible singer, but still ... Here's the list from my year, and my song from that list is "Sweet Violets." I remember hearing it once. I was in bed and overheard my parents playing it. I loved it deeply and the next day asked my parents about it. They told me, it was not for children and I couldn't hear it. Was it about sex? Death? Oddly, though I've always remembered it, I have never bothered to find the song and listen to it. I can still hear it in my head from that one listen, but I've never heard it again. I rush over to iTunes. The Dinah Shore hit is not there (only a Mitch Miller version). Ah! here are the lyrics. It's a bizarrely veiled filthy song from the past! Good thing my parents protected me, or protected themselves from having to deal with my questions.
Anwar Robinson. 1975. "I'll Never Love This Way Again." In the intro, he admits that as a little kid, he didn't talk, but he found a voice for himself in music. That's genuinely touching. How many musicians can say that? Most, perhaps. Maybe I'm too much of a mom, but that brings tears to my eyes. Randy says he's "the best singer in this competition." Paula: "The tone of your voice... is mesmerizing." Even Simon likes it, but then says "comforting ... like a blanket." True! Anwar is a sweetheart. And the repeated phrase "I know I'll never love this way again" really is very engaging.
Anthony Federov, born in 1985, is singing "Every Time You Go Away," that nice Paul Young song, a good choice for him. Halfway through, I'm thinking, it would be fun to hear Clay Aiken sing this. Anthony's okay, but he's a little short of power. He ends well enough. The judges like him, including Simon. An example of good song choice.
1984 is the birth year of our dear Vonzell Solomon, who sings "Let's Hear It For the Boy." I hate the song and I hate the instrumentation. I predict she'll be in the bottom three. I'm tired of strenuousness. Paula tells her "you're adorable up there," and Vonzell beams in a way that makes me love her again, much as I detest that kind of crap music.
Scott Savol was born in 1976, and they show a picture of him as a pissed off, scowling baby. Ah! Give the boy credit for what he's achieved if sourness was ingrained biologically. He's going to sing "She's Gone." Hall and Oates. He says, he's the rocker in this competition. Hall and Oates are in the audience and we see them nodding enthusiastically. This may be the best song choice ever on "American Idol." The high notes are beautiful. Paula's up and dancing. Randy: "Scotty... you got it started man... you brought it home." Paula: "Awesome." Simon: "Scott, you're a nice guy, however...." Scott protests: "I think I rock."
Carrie Underwood is next and is it mean of me to hope she screws up? My #1 goal for Season 4 is: Carrie must fail! 1983 is her year and "Love Is a Battlefield" is her song. Damn, that's a song that could win me over! She's a bleating zombie, swiveling her hips in a way that's intended to be sexual. It's strenuous... and bleaty... How I detest her! Please, slam her! Randy: "pitchy... you messed up the words." It's a song Paula has covered, so maybe Paula will be critical. No, she says "I think you rocked." Simon: "It was a little bit like watching a kitten who wants to be a tiger." Randy: "Finally, he speaks the truth." Yes!
Last tonight is Constantine Maroulis, the Justin Guarini of Season 4. Born in 1975 and singing "Bohemian Rhapsody"! We love the boy! Crazy white light blinds us, and then, there he is, all charismatic. We love him! Simon: "That was astonishing!" Seacrest: "He's never, ever used that word on this show." He sang "Bohemian Rhapsody," people. It's Constantine! The next American Idol.
Jeez, I'm even considering voting for the first time this season.
Now, I kind of like them all. Except Carrie. Let that phony girl go. Bottom three (in my dream world): Carrie, Nadia ... ?.... Anthony?