April 29, 2008

Neil Diamond on "American Idol."

I'm just catching up with the TiVo'd show. (As I said, I was walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. Just an after work walk. Midway through the bridge I realized I was starving, and I felt like a zombie stalking the rest of the way over and for blocks into Manhattan to get to a restaurant. Restaurant! Restaurant! It was gruesome.)

Neil is doing a great job. He's been well advised: Be like Barry Manilow. Not Dolly! Help the nice, young kids. Don't self-promote. Does Neil actually care about these the kids? I don't know, but he seems like he does, and that's enough to make me like him.

They're singing 2 songs each, and — in a shocking break from tradition — the contestants sing their first songs without hearing from the judges. Then they're lined up on the stage together for judgment. Horrible idea. Randy goes down the line and gives each one a little opinion on their first song. Then Paula starts with Jason and tells him what she thinks of his first and his second song, even though he hasn't sung his second song yet. This is the biggest Paula screw-up of all time. We see Ryan Seacrest glance nervously over to the side. The audience giggles. She's about to go on to David Cook, and Randy interrupts and says, "We should just do the first song, uh." And now the truth is out! They prepare beforehand, based on rehearsal performances! Arrrggghhh! My AI world is torn apart. Ryan relies on his tiny wit: "You're seein' the future." Simon is making that hand gesture where he holds his thumb to his forehead and flares out his fingers. What is it? The half moose? Simon squelches Paula. Just say who your favorite was and shut up. Then Simon tells all the kids they sucked.

Then we get another round of songs, but we don't see Neil again, and it's all quite forgettable.

I think we all know either Jason or Brooke is going to leave. And, frankly, I think we know that Jason, Brooke, and Syesha are going to be leaving in the next 3 weeks. The only interesting question is: Which David will win?

IN THE COMMENTS: Jennifer says:
Oh, and I thought you would say that Neil Diamond didn't go the Barry Manilow route. He didn't seem to give a whole lot of advice...? But, I guess they gave him very little screen time.
Hmm. Yeah. He wasn't making the Dolly mistake (making it all about oneself), but he didn't really achieve Manilosity, because he didn't have a lot of detailed, individualized advice. Maybe he's just not as smart or he didn't take the time with the singers. And there was a time issue. Was it caused by cramming 10 songs into 1 hour, or did they choose to make it 1 hour because Diamond didn't give them enough material?

42 comments:

kimsch said...

A moose once bit my sister.

kimsch said...

sorry. I couldn't help it since Althouse used the word moose in the post...

Jason should be the one to go this week. But because I said that, it will be someone else.

Bissage said...

I was a huge fan of Neil Diamond way before being so was campy good fun.

That’s because I was ten years old in 1972 and my mother was a neglectful alcoholic with a record collection.

That’s not confessing.

That’s boasting!

Ha!

JohnAnnArbor said...

A moose?

Jennifer said...

I think Syesha is out this week. She sang better than Jason and Brooke, but she never carved out a niche. Jason has the coffeehouse scene nailed down. Brooke has a huge following that I would be willing to bet is largely religious. Syesha doesn't fit into a nice little box that would help her out.

But, if David Cook were to go home this week, I wouldn't be mad at AI. Dawg. (I know he has talent. But he BUGS. After that first smarmy douchebag face in the second song, I just had to fast forward through the whole thing.)

Jennifer said...

Oh, and I thought you would say that Neil Diamond didn't go the Barry Manilow route. He didn't seem to give a whole lot of advice...? But, I guess they gave him very little screen time.

Joe said...

I thought it was mostly dreadful. David Cook did well. Sayesha did okay on her second song. The single worse song of the night came from Brooke White. David Archuleta is still WAY overrated--his samo-samo over-dramatic droning completing drives me nuts (though I suppose on par with Neil Diamond.)

I'm still quite astonished at song choice. I suspect a big part of the problem is that the show is produced by people who listened to classic Neil Diamond on the radio and performed by people who have barely heard of the man, let alone any of his songs. Could they actually bring in a guest who isn't in the AARP?

kimsch said...

# Including the majestik møøse
# A Møøse once bit my sister...
# No realli! She was Karving her initials on the møøse with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush given her by Svenge - her brother-in-law - an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian møvies: "The Høt Hands of an Oslo Dentist", "Fillings of Passion", "The Huge Mølars of Horst Nordfink"...
# We apologise for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible have been sacked.
# Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti...
# We apologise again for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked.
# Møøse trained by YUTTE HERMSGERVØRDENBRØTBØRDA
# Special Møøse Effects OLAF PROT Møøse Costumes SIGGI CHURCHILL
# Møøse Choreographed by HORST PROT III Miss Taylor's Møøses by HENGST DOUGLAS-HOME Møøse trained to mix concrete and sign complicated insurance forms by JURGEN WIGG
# Møøses' noses wiped by BJØRN IRKESTØM-SLATER WALKER Large møøse on the left hand side of the screen
in the third scene from the end, given a thorough grounding in Latin, French and "O" Level Geography by BO BENN Suggestive poses for the Møøse suggested by VIC ROTTER Antler-care by LIV THATCHER
# The directors of the firm hired to continue the credits after the other people had been sacked, wish it to be known that they have just been sacked. The credits have been completed in an entirely different style at great expense and at the last minute.

Pal2Pal said...

Since I'm West Coast, I wanted to wait to comment until I heard the second songs.

David A. was just awful on "They're Coming to America." I swear the judges are tone deaf. It was so badly off key, I was cringing, and there are the judges praising him. Talk about the fix being in.

I was surprised at how well Brooke handled "I am, I Said." Probably one of the hardest songs for others to sing.

And you can mock Neil Diamond all you want as being AARP, but he is one of the best lyricists in the last 60+ years and also one of most successful performers ever.

Syesha won the first round, Brooke the second. I'm very disappointed with David Cook. He has the perfect style to sing quality Neil Diamond and he blew it. The first song was okay, the second, yuck.

Palladian said...

"And you can mock Neil Diamond all you want as being AARP, but he is one of the best lyricists in the last 60+ years"

I am, I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair

John K. said...

I have a "Man-Crush" on David Cook. He's by far the best talent up there.

I second the commenter above and think David Archuletta is way over-rated, and he's always singing the samo-samo elevator music. I can't understand why the judges fawn over him. He's eminently "forgettable," in the phraseology of Simon.

Neil Diamond rocks.

I wonder what drugs Paula takes to get her through these shows.

rcocean said...

Neil Diamond, this generation's Cole Porter:

They're coming to America
They're coming to America
They're coming to America
They're coming to America
Today, today, today, today, today

My country 'tis of thee
Today
Sweet land of liberty
Today
Of thee I sing
Today
Of thee I sing
Today

blake said...

Palladian beat me to it.

On the other hand:

Moves like a fist through traffic
Anger and no one can heal it
Shoves a little bump in the momentum
It's just a little lump but you feel it

In the creases and the shadows
With a rattling deep emotion
The cool, cool river
Sweeps the wild white ocean

--P. Simon

Now that's a lyric.

Bissage said...

Song sung blue
Everybody knows one
Song sung blue
Every garden grows one


Heavy, man.

Yack!

To his credit, at least he seems stoned.

Bissage said...

Palladian, you reminded me of a seventh grade substitute English teacher who played a recording of “I am, I said” for the class.

We had to listen with our eyes closed.

Afterwards, he started discoursing and he got all worked up saying things like “Can you imagine the loneliness, man? Not even the chair.

I am not making this up.

To his credit, though, he seemed stoned.

George said...

Neil DIamond's lyrics may not be a trip to the moon on gossamer wings, but he is laughing all the way to the bank.

Paul Simon, too, but the Diamond lyric quoted above is surely easier to remember and sing than Simon's.

Michael_H said...

Dialidol.com ranks Syesha highest, then Cook, Archuleta,Castro and White.

Paula Abdul should be the one voted off this week, as she apparently lacks sufficient talent to read notes in the correct sequence.

Modern Otter said...

This is the biggest Paula screw-up of all time.

Sheila E.'s waiting in the wings.

Surprising that as strong a catalog as N.D.'s didn't yield more strong performances than it did from this crew. Lots of so-so. I don't think any of the judges gave Syesha her due this week as she pulled off two very nice ones.

Mainly though, I'm here to give thanks that David Archuleta didn't sing "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon."

rhhardin said...

And you can mock Neil Diamond all you want as being AARP, but he is one of the best lyricists in the last 60+ years

The AARP is always suing people for downloading big band music.

The best lyricist around is Tiffany Eckhardt, by the way.

Fen said...

Can someone explain why they're still interested in the show, after Paula's Big Ooops? The whole show is staged.

Not trying to flame anyone. I just don't get it.

rastajenk said...

Exactly. I commented last week the fix is in, and this weeks's fix is Jason leaving, so that the gender balance remains. The Paula flub is merely more proof than needed.

I wonder how much Paula gets paid to come up with, "I'm so proud of you all" week after week. You'd think the producers might want a little more bang for their buck after a while.

wgh said...

I have no one to really get behind this year.

Cook just falls in that "pretty good" category for me, and I can't help but think that if Daughtry were in this class he'd be toast.

Sayesha is the best entertainer, but her voice just isn't top-tier.

Jason might be decent as a recording artist but it's hard to make an objective assessment since I can't stand looking at him.

Brooke is just OK. She seems a pretender to me for some reason.

Technically Archuleta is the most talented, but is saddled with a tone that becomes wearisome. And because its the most dominant characteristic of his performances, each song starts to sound the same.

rhhardin said...

I was starving, and I felt like a zombie stalking the rest of the way over and for blocks into Manhattan to get to a restaurant.

Low blood sugar. You need to metabolize some fat.

It goes away on a bicycle after another 20 or 30 miles.

Susan said...

Neil told Brooke "I Am I Said" wouldn't really be hers since she wasn't from New York so they came up with changing the lyric to Arizona.

...I'm lost between two shores
LA's fine, but it ain't home
Arizona's home but it ain't mine no more

Yeah, that makes more sense. I love those Arizona shores.

Drew W said...

My revulsion at “American Idol” has been expressed previously on Prof. Althouse’s blog, but my admiration for Neil Diamond has not.

If you stick to his early Uni/MCA releases, you’ll understand why so many consider him great. (My favorite part of the otherwise hit-or-miss comedy “Saving Silverman” had to do with the indignation the title character’s slacker-friends felt when Silverman's malevolent girlfriend destroyed all his Neil Diamond albums.)

That said, you don’t have to venture very far into his Columbia era to hear why he turned himself into such a joke.

A few years ago, Diamond released an album whose title seemed perfectly to encapsulate his elemental songwriting genius: “Three Chord Opera.” I thought that this must some sort of comeback disc and I was dying to hear it. Turns out it was the same sort of drivel he’d been churning out for 30 years.

Four years later, he really did release a comeback album, the Rick Rubin-produced “12 Songs.” There isn’t a “Thank The Lord For The Night Time” on it, but it’s still pretty cool.

Fen said...

I wonder how much Paula gets paid to come up with, "I'm so proud of you all" week after week.

Well, to be fair, Paula suffers from chronic pain. Its likely she's over-medicated. So I do feel sympathy for her.

But I'll be surpised if she's not canned. It will be interesting to see if the ratings drop after this last incident.

Jennifer said...

Can someone explain why they're still interested in the show, after Paula's Big Ooops? The whole show is staged.

I don't see it as all that big a deal. We've always known the judges watched the last rehearsal performances - they've commented before when someone was sick that they sounded better in the earlier rehearsal performance.

The fact that she jotted down notes during the rehearsal performances and that she crazily started talking about them doesn't mean the show is "fixed". It means Paula is a total airhead. Again, not news...

Fen said...

Ah okay. I thought she was reading from notes the producers had handed her. Thanks.

Trooper York said...

I would comment but I got sidetracked by the news story that a professor was suing her students. I am trying to track down the details. Hmmmmmmm.

Fen said...

Trooper, two different instances now:

/via instapundit

http://pajamasmedia.com/rogerkimball/2008/04/29/from-the-annals-of-the-academy-prof-sues-students-for-criticizing-her/

http://insidehighered.com/news/2008/04/30/suit

Trooper York said...

Thank God Fen, I thought I heard it was Brooklyn Law. We dodged a bullet there.

Trooper York said...

Hee hee.

Trooper York said...

Wait a minute, Brooke is suing Neil Diamond because he didn't teach her how to sing like a monkee.

SteveR said...

As if it were "Whole Lotta Love", I am not buying a 17 year old boy singing "America", at least not that 17 year old.

Jennifer said...

Ah okay. I thought she was reading from notes the producers had handed her. Thanks.

Oh, I see. I would certainly hope that if the producers were handing her notes, that they would be more cogent and sensical than what usually comes out of her mouth. lol

donostiarra said...

Yeah, that makes more sense. I love those Arizona shores.

I think part of Lake Powell is in AZ. I haven't been, but I think its boundaries are more accurately cliffs than shores. And do man-made bodies of water even count? At any rate, I thought Brooke's second performance was much better than anything else she's done in the last few weeks. But she should go this week or next.

knoxwhirled said...

David Archuletta's voice is good for show choirs or for singing commercials. Not much else. Well, maybe a Disney cartoon.

But I'll be surpised if she's not canned. It will be interesting to see if the ratings drop after this last incident.

But this is the whole point of Idol. It's also what makes Paula so entertaining--and I'd even say, endearing.

jeff said...

Has no one seen "the Jazz Singer" starring Mr Neil Diamond? Poetry in motion. The hand gesture at the end of the movie while singing "Coming to America"? Did the kid do that? If not, then he didn't get the essence of the song. Man.

mrs whatsit said...

I don't think Paula will be canned. Half the fun of watching the show is waiting to see what on earth she'll say next. Last night makes the future even more adventurous!

As for Neil Diamond, I liked his kind way with the competitors and I'll even admit to liking some of his songs. But if we're going to discuss lyrics, it must be confessed that he wrote these:

Song she sang to me
Song she brang to me

Every time I hear it, I cannot keep from pounding on the dashboard while yelling grammatical instructions at the radio. It scares the dog.

blake said...

My favorite part of the otherwise hit-or-miss comedy “Saving Silverman” had to do with the indignation the title character’s slacker-friends felt when Silverman's malevolent girlfriend destroyed all his Neil Diamond albums.

And what was the name of their Neil Diamond cover band?

The best part was when he shows up at the end of the movie.

Jennifer said...

And what was the name of their Neil Diamond cover band?

I had to look it up - it's been too long! Diamonds in the Rough

blake said...

Yes!

It has been a long time, but--wasn't there another Neil Diamond cover band name mentioned in the movie?

Not a great movie but not as bad as it was made out to be.