May 3, 2005

"Very good, other than that the performance was a little robotic."

"American Idol." All the life ... all the love is gone. Only robots are left. Robots and earnest, nice, nice young people. That's what we've got. Yes, maybe there is some charge of masculine power in the nearly-thirty body of Bo. But, basically, this is nothingness. This is the worst season of "American Idol." Let me list the offenses in order.

1. Vonzell, on the second song, where she was allowed to sing anything currently on the charts, sang a song by the "American Idols" that happens to be charting, that we've heard done as a group sing, and that is -- most importantly -- a piece of crap. "Every time you touch me, I become a hero." It should be a crime to write lyrics like that. Vonzell is wearing a horrible brown dress and shrieking. And she seems to think that by blowing kisses and doing big, dimpled smiles that she can keep us in her camp. But no! No! Not acceptable!!

2. Carrie, singing Elvis's “Trouble”: “I’m eeeeeviiilllll." She’s not evil! That's her first song, where the theme is Leiber and Stoller. Later, she does some other song, some charting song, that elicits the quote I've used for the title to this post. Carrie exemplifies Season Four -- The Revenge of the Robots. The camera -- meaning to show us youthful beauty -- closes in on her spark-free eyes.

3. The general mass of featureless chaotic crooning and bellowing. I have individual notes on all the singers, but nothing worth posting. It was awful. Maybe Bo stood out a bit. "Stand By Me" is a nice enough song. But, no, I've got nothing useful to say.

4. Randy and Paula: Did you say anything worthwhile? Only Simon has any shred of honesty left. "Insipid, amateurish perfomance" -- he said that about one of the contestants, but really it could be a summary of the whole sorry series.

31 comments:

ploopusgirl said...
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henny said...

This is my first year watching A.I. but I too was bored to tears tonight, and stopped watching midway to watch old episodes of "the shield". Without Constantine and Nadia, there's no verve, no style, no excitement.

You are exactly right - robots.

Emily said...

I missed it tonight. I just got off the phone with my 18-year-old daughter, who is a harsh critic, and she loved it. She said that Bo, Carrie and Vonzell had breakout performances.

ploopusgirl said...
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Ann Althouse said...

Emily: Probably more CDs being bought by 18-year-olds, so maybe the show does hit where it should. I feel that the last character that touched me left last week, and now there's nothing left but the bellowing.

jennifer said...

And it's too bad too, considering this season initially had the makings of one of the best.

Sad.

Without Constantine (even though I'm more of a Bo girl) the energy got sucked right out of the game.

Irene Done said...

As for Scott's comment that tomorrow night at this time, he'll be wondering what song to sing next week: it's sad when the show's worst performer gets off the night's cleverest line.

But Paula seemed lucid!

Ann Althouse said...

Irene: I think Scott's nerve there might doom him. "The American people" tend to punish arrogance. If he's doing so well because he's the underdog, the arrogance thing can be especially bad.

As to Paula, she's probably gotten the message that she seems inappropriately befogged and is trying to be really clear.

Acres said...

My wife's theory is that the only reason Anthony has made it as far as he has is because of the teen appeal.

(In my best Simon impersonation) It was like walking up to a lemonade stand on a hot day and getting water.

All the props are there, but you're right, no soul.

ploopusgirl said...
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Benedict said...

With all due respect, I dissent.

I literally got goosebumps from Carrie's first song. Her second was admittedly "safe".

Say what you will about Scott the person, but Scott the singer doing George Benson better than George Benson was remarkable. His second song was workmanlike, but memorable for, as Paula (of all people!) noted, the syncopation.

Bo has more testosterone in his non-whitened teeth than Seacrest, Simon and Randy put together. What is the saying? All the guys want to be him, and all the girls want to, ahhhh, "be with" him.

Vonzell was OK, but a certain sameness in her performances has emerged that is disappointing.

Anthony was first bad and then forgettable. He should go.

Dave said...

Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of AI.

Doubtful though, considering how much of an audienec this piece of overrated tripe attracts.

I'd like Simon Cowell to have a talk show in which he dumps on all of mediocre America. We Americans could use a refreshing dose of harsh judgment.

The rubric of "we are all special in our own ways" has got to stop. It has produced crap like AI.

Bill Millan said...

I think either Carrie or Bo should win. I am afraid that the "spoilers" are block voting to put Scott in as the winner. Could someone "robot vote" Scott into number one? I am not enought of a "techie" to know.

I am sure the producers are aware of what is going on and are trying to figure out how to stop it without ruining the show. Possibly a smaller "pipe" for Scott's call ins. But this would destroy the show if it got out.

Sorry to see you have a troll posting that is forcing you to take off posts. I hope you have a way to stop this person so that you don't have to tediously edit one at a time.

Ann Althouse said...

Bill: Re the troll -- I think it's just a young Carrie fan. Re who should win: I'm sure the show wants Carrie, which is one of the things that's made the show boring this year. They don't really want us to pick. They want us to agree. Because of that, for weeks, the only interesting thing to me (other than Constantine's witty send-up of the show) was to see them denied. At this point, the performances are so bad, the judges aren't even making fun of them anymore. If they told the truth, they'd be saying their entire show is bad.

FreakinRican said...

I completely agree with you about Scott being a tad bit arrogant. I mentioned that to wifey last night as we were watching. I predict that he just shot himself in the foot there.

Eric said...

I agree that Simon's comments tend to be the most honest and accurate. But he's better as a judge of marketability than of talent (that's why he's so hooked on Carrie). I was watching Oprah the other week, and she featured a singing group that Simon put together. Man, they sucked -- talk about boring and insipid! But, marketed properly, I've got no doubt they'll be as successful as ... well, you know, the Backstreet Boys. Or Clay Aiken.

SteveR said...

I'd have to think the producers have been disappointed in how this group has evolved. No one comes across as more talented than when the finalists were first picked. In part this is due to horrible song categories (and selections within those categories). What's also true is that for every Kelly Clarkson, there are thousands (millions!) of Scotts and Vonzells

Bill Millan said...

I suspect that Bo would be the best bet for commercial success for Simon with the record contract. Constantine's outing was strange. Makes me suspect the mechanics of the voting. I think you are right about Carrie. She just doesn't have the "oomph" needed to make the audience connection.

jult52 said...

Your bizarre love for Constantine continues to confound me, Ann. Can't mature women see through that sort of crap?

I thought Randy made some good comments, actually, about pitch problems during some performances.

Ann Althouse said...

Jult52: this is a figure/ground puzzle. What is the crap and what is the opposite of the crap? To me, Constantine leaped past the crap and made a cool witty comment on the environment in which he found himself. Liking the pedestrian contestants seems to me to be the biggest lapse in taste!

Jay DeShan said...

Applying AI logic to past superstars, it makes you wonder what their chances would be if on the show.
Elvis probably wins, John Lennon does not. Shania Twain does, Janis Joplin doesn't (Randy would say she sounds "pitchy".) Are we really looking for stars? If so, Constantine would still be a contestant. What about other legands and their chances of winning? Can you name some winners and losers?

Knemon said...

Winner - Joe Jackson
Loser - Elvis Costello

Says it all, really. And I kinda like Joe Jackson. But still.

Ann Althouse said...

I think most people with artistic sensitivity could not make it through the weird pressure (even if they were wanted to do the show and really tried to win, which isn't a very artistic thing to do). I think they'd falter and freak out. Well, maybe they'd get "a little robotic"!

Eric said...

Art Garfunkel wins, Paul Simon does not. David Clayton Thomas wins, Bruce Springsteen does not.

And I have to disagree with Jay -- Elvis (Presley) does not win. Too country. Keeps trying to break out of his box by singing that rockabilly stuff instead of sticking with the cloying ballads.

Part of the problem is that most of the stars we're mentioning play instruments and write their own songs. Clapton without a guitar is no superstar. Neither is Dylan singing classic rock covers. It's hard to shine on your own when you're singing someone else's songs. That's why God invented bar bands and karaoke nights.

Jay DeShan said...

>>Part of the problem is that most of the stars we're mentioning play instruments and write their own songs.

Correct. I have to admit that I'm a big fan of "the song." I'd say it's easier for a great song to carry mediocre talent than great talent to carry a mediocre song--although we've all heard variations of these on the radio. The ability to write the great song carries much more weight with me than hitting and holding the high note. The song is god.

Chrees said...

After the discussion yesterday, I figured I would actually watch the show. I think it was only the second time I have. I missed the first 20 minutes or so (didn't figure in giving the kid a bath and getting him ready for bed), but I kept wanting Simon to make a comment about the singers mistaking volume for intensity. Maybe he's made that point before...

Internal Medicine Doctor said...

I absolutely agree with you and always felt the same way. Although simon can at times be especially harsh to contestents he is usually right on. Last night sucked!

the other two? well, I'm getting kinda tired of the whole dog pound thing and listening to a balding 40 year old man speak like that is really beggining to upset m. Randi, you're a role model to some people (I think) how about a little English.

jult52 said...

Ann: I completely agree that a subversive approach to AI -- one that would send it up without being obvious about sending it up -- would be welcome and would receive my support. My problem has to do with your selection of that messenger -- the Hermes, if you will -- bearing the satirical message. Constantine, despite his heritage, is no such Hermes.

BTW, I thought some of the oddball initial contestants did send up the show. Like the mime. THAT was satire.

Conservative_D said...

Constantine just reminded me too much of a Chris Cole in Steel Dragons (Mark Wahlberg's character in "Rock Star"). Just something of him smacks of insincere, poser, a fake. Maybe he's cool in the way SNL is funny (It’s not, but maybe I just don't get it, and I’m fine with that).

Adam said...

The singer/songwriter/musician thing is why I loved the first season of Nashville Star so much. (Then they got rid of their best judge, and it all went to shit.)

Constantine, as Ann said, understood that he was playing a role and made sure we knew he knew it as well, but returning to "rock" just exposed it all too much.

Out of those remaining, Bo's the best at what he does, but I didn't think they were looking for that, because how the hell is he going to sing "I Believe In A Moment Like This I Am Flying Without Wings Before Your Love"?

I miss Mikalah.

Ann Althouse said...

Adam: Yeah, there was an earlier point on the show when things were kind of cool. And Mikalah was part of it. It gets grindingly serious in the end. Clay and Justin, in the first two seasons, kept our spirits up, you know. Now, it's just grim.