March 5, 2008

"American Idol" — the boys were pretty good last night, all retro-80s.

Each did a little intro interview on what was supposedly their "most embarrassing moment." But David Hernandez had a story about a booger, and not anything about his time as a stripper in a gay bar or the way that's now splashed all over the internet. And Danny Noriega told us about a time he fell down stairs, and not about that YouTube video everyone's clicking on — the one where he hopes Santa Claus will rape your mother. (NSFW, but it does have some sly humor to it. Why do people think this one man who breaks into your house at night is okay? Santa does have a bit of a rapist M.O.)

But about the singing. I loved David Cook making that dorky Lionel Ritchie song "Hello" into something rockish. And Jason Castro sang "Hallelujah," such a great song, winningly enough. Michael Johns sounded too much like he was just horsing around with the 80s the way he did "Don't You Forget About Me." Ditto Luke Menard with "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go." Another thing about Johns was that he bleated and seemed cheesy. Menard, on the other hand, made me reminisce about how passionate and exciting George Michael was in the original Wham version, which is my favorite 80s single. (Chez Althouse, it got played a lot on a Fisher-Price record player back then.) Danny Noriega sang some damned thing that I didn't like and couldn't even recognize as a song. David Achuleta sang Another Day in Paradise" earnestly and prettily and used his after-song interview to deliver a mini-sermon about the homeless, for whom he cares. David Hernandez — I've already forgotten what he did. Has the bad press wrecked my opinion of him? Chikezie? What was that thing he sang?

ADDED: Jacob at Television Without Pity gets very heavy-handed about Danny Noriega:
[W]hat I can't fucking abide is this idea that some dumb kid is going to see Danny on the screen... and realize that this is a way to get approval, attention, and acceptance. Taking the Danny route means putting all the scary things about gay people and stuffing them into a tiny little asterisk, while magnifying all the childish, feminine, negligible things -- all the things that put you in the category of not mattering -- and expanding them so that they cover your whole personality, with just a tiny little asterisk of things that we can, as a culture, forgive. As long as we don't have to see them, think about them, or otherwise confront them in a way which isn't hilariously powerless....
Maybe Danny's the Marilyn Monroe of the show and knows that fulfilling an archetype this insanely well is actually a power play. I can see that, actually. I just don't like what it does to everybody else -- also, now that I think of it, a problem with people like Marilyn, who excel at putting on the face like that.

19 comments:

michaele said...

I'm one of those goofies who actually votes and so I make little notes throughout the performances. In order to differentiate among the contestents when there are so many, I have physical characteristic clues for some.I refer to David Cook as the "big headed guy" and, truth is, he is darned good and I really liked his version of "Hello". Michael is starting to use up all the good will he garnered for his earlier performance of Bohemian Rhapsody. He's seeming less amazing as each week goes by.

MadisonMan said...

I thought Michael Johns and Luke Menard were dreadful, and I tuned out when little David A -- who sings nicely enough -- started the sermon. Simon was right in his analysis -- David is 17 and he needs to show he can have fun.

David Cook and Mr. Dreads were really interesting -- that's good -- last night.

I wouldn't be sad to see Menard, Johns, or Hernandez go. They did okay, but I'm not touched by any of them. Oh, and throw Noriega under the bus. He has too much attitude for his talent.

SteveR said...

Ann, I think you pretty much got it right. Cook doing the Ritchie song was quite good.

Terry said...

Danny Noriega's video is not funny. It is sick, pathetic and grasping. Noriega obviously needs to offend and doing so by insulting motherhood and Christmas in so disgusting a fashion is repugnant and not funny. Noriega will end up a fixture in a gutter somewhere drugged out of what little mind he has and spending the rest of his short life as a receptacle for old perverts sexual and other bodily fluids. If Idol has an ounce of integrity they'll drop him like a hot excrement covered rock.

Oh, and he can't sing either.

Ann Althouse said...

Terry, he's a child. He had no idea millions of people would be looking at him. He was alone horsing around with a video cam. Give him a break.

Bullwinkle4Amy said...

Terry, let me assure you that I was no paragon of taste at 17. What am I saying? I'm no paragon of taste now!

It's kind of a shame that David Archuleto sings as well as he does, because between "Imagine" and "Another Day in Paradise" he's managed to come across as yet another singer who's woefully ignorant as to where the misery they seem to feel they're the only ones to be aware of comes from (aside to my wife last night after the sermon: "The problem with the homeless isn't lack of attention.") "Imagine" is sweetly written and sweetly sung, but the point of view it espouses was responsible for the greatest evils—at least if you go by body count—of the 20th century. I'll cut him some slack because he's too young to know any better, but the critique that he needs to find some lightness and get over the warmed over "social awareness" pablum is spot on.

amba said...

"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" was to me the song (and video) that announced the start of the '80s, the Reagan-era feeling. Everyone in the video was so clean and cheerful, it was like "Whoa, here's something new." They'd scrubbed the ring of '70s scum out of the tub. In fact, they'd replaced the tub. It was a fresh start.

Triangle Man said...

I'd forgotten the song that Hernandez sang too, but "It's All Coming Back to Me Now".

Michael_H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

amba, yeah, me too. Especially because they wore "choose life" t-shirts, which I took to be pro-life. It seemed like some strange religious thing.

jeff said...

"Why do people think this one man who breaks into your house at night is okay? "

Because 1. he doesn't break in. He comes in thru the chimney. EVERYONE knows that. For people without fireplaces he apparently has some sort of deal worked out with the super. And 2. He leaves stuff under the Christman tree. Any one who wants to enter my home once a year and leave cool stuff for me is ok in my book. Not sure what sort of weird-ass upbringing would make someone confuse Santa with a rapist. Mrs Clause and the elves wouldnt stand for it.

Zeb Quinn said...

If it were up to me, Luke Menard and Danny Noriega would be abbas rebus this week.

Michael_H said...

Shouldn't David Archuleta sing something age-appropriate, like maybe "The Wheels on The Bus go 'Round and 'Round?

Trooper York said...

I hope Titus weighs in with his opinion about Danny Noriega. The Television without Pity guys are always rough on the gays, but the law of averages rules that since so many of those remaining are gay, one of them could win. They should deal with it. If people vote for him, he did the right thing. Plus if this doesn't work out he can always run for governor of New Jersey.

Blake said...

I rather was a paragon of good taste at 17.

I got over it, mind you.

Publius said...

Paula was almost incoherent last night, saying something about one contestant like "your imnperfections make you perfect".

Darin said...

Danny Noriega is Mikalah Gordon.

Ralph said...

If George Michael didn't make your gaydar go off like a fog horn in that "go-go" video, you need a new one. Why he thought he could pass for straight after that is the real mystery.

knoxwhirled said...

The Noriega guy is like Christian on Project Runway. Probably even when they're alone they're "performing" for some imagined camera People with such a flair for the dramatic and such a need for attention--flaming gay or not--become annoying pretty quickly.