April 28, 2010

It only hurts when I'm wet.

Last night on "American Idol," it was Shania Twain night. There was some talk about how the guys — there are 4 left — would sing such feminine songs. After Michael Lynche sang "It Only Hurts When I Breathe," Simon Cowell said "I thought the performance, however, was a little bit wet, as if you were in a musical acting out the words."

Wet, eh? Questioned about what that meant, Cowell was coy: "the opposite of dry." Further grilled, he said "It was a little bit girly for you." I think he was signaling the people at home that it's time to let go of poor Michael, who is a big burly guy whose fatherhood the show has touted since his first appearance. Now, when they'd like us to dump him, Simon injects doubt about his manhood into the American mind.

Meanwhile, Kara DioGuardia snarked about how the little guy, Aaron Kelly, wisely changed the words "when we made love" in Twain's "Way About You." Kara wriggled around as though she was uncomfortable referring to the fact that he's so young he must be a virgin. (He just turned 17.) And then Aaron upped the discomfort level by letting us know he was "singing the song to my mom." A wave of "aw" rose up in the audience, and Aaron bit his lip as if he might sob with love for his mother. No way he's voted out! Moms watch the show, and moms vote. If they were trying to signal that we should drop Aaron, they botched it.

Anyway, I suddenly realize I know that damned "breathe" song. Yeah! Here it is! A blog post written on March 31, 2004. I'd gone to the dentist:
The dentist pipes in music that most resembles the kinds of songs that contestants on American Idol sing. When I'm at the dentist I'm hyper-aware of how much I hate that kind of music, which makes me wonder what strange force makes me watch American Idol. Oh, the Motown stuff last night was good--I like Fantasia--but it's that generic bellowing anthemic crap that I can't tolerate (for example, at the dentist today, Melissa Etheridge singing something along the lines of "It only hurts when I breathe....," where the approach seems to be come up with one line that appears clever and just emote the hell out of that one line over and over). But that is all to say: I really do have a lot of work to get on to. I've got a Conlaw class at 11...
Ha ha. More than 5 years later, I'm still watching "Idol," and they finally do that song. (And I did correct the Melissa Etheridge mistake in an update at the time, even though I don't really care which lung-y woman is which.

And, actually, I've got a Conlaw class at 11 today too. The last class of the Spring semester....

27 comments:

Salamandyr said...

I don't think I'd exactly call Melissa Etheridge "lung-y". Her voice sounds like she's been smoking butts out of ashtrays for 20 years...which as I understand, she has.

While she has done the occasional torch song, unlike Twain (and most American Idol contestants), she sounds like she's at least heard what a blues record sounds like, and I can forgive any number of overwrought love ballads for "Give Me Some Water",

MadisonMan said...

I only watched the last 15 minutes but Aaron's singing for his Mom (really his Aunt, I guess) comment was a little weird for me. Contestants really need to learn when to stop talking. That goes for Crystal too. But Aaron's singing for Mom comment was not as weird as Kara talking about his virginity. Judges ought to treat the contestants the same regardless of age. Have they commented on Lee's virginity, or Siobhan's? Did Jordin Sparks get all these inappropriate comments too? I don't recall. Archuleta didn't.

I think Casey will go home. Won't be the first time someone leaves after giving a strong performance.

Mick said...

Will you be teaching the meaning of Natural Born Citizen, i.e. per Vattel, "those born in a country of citizen parents" or as Lawrence Tribe puts it, "those born w/in a country's territory and ALLEGIANCE"

http://puzo1.blogspot.com/2010/04/founder-and-historian-david-ramsay.html

Richard Dolan said...

"... which makes me wonder what strange force makes me watch American Idol."

Were you a fan of the Amateur Hour and Queen for a Day as well? If so, it was probably the same strange force at work.

To me, the interesting fact is that these Idol performances highlight how little training and talent is needed to be a competent pop singer, and how forgiving is the audience for this stuff. Given the huge financial rewards that come with success in the genre, the road to the top must be very steep. But, since the talent/training element doesn't seem all that significant a barrier, the factor that filters out winners from losers must be marketing more than anything else.

What they're marketing is a modern day elisir d'amore. As Cowell said, you have to project "believability" and "genuineness," which in practice seems to involve producing the expected musical cliches in the usual places. All that breathiness, the (predictable) catch in the throat, the slurred and swallowed note -- it's all there. Playacting the role of singer becomes the touchstone for genuineness. Pitch, tonality and musicianship not so much.

Not my thing.

David said...

"Now, when they'd like us to dump him, Simon injects doubt about his manhood into the American mind."

A good example of why I hate the show--watched it a few times. Made my skin crawl.

Joe said...

It's been quite obvious that the American Idol producers and the judges want a woman to win and have done everything in their power to ensure that. Why wife, who is a big enough Idol fan that she goes to the concerts is quite disgusted with that this year. (She's especially annoyed with the lack of criticism of Siobhan's out-of-tune screaming.)

As an aside, I've wondered what the inside story is on Ryan Seacrest's banter. Like him or not, the man is a skilled MC. He will pick fights with Simon, sometimes very aggressively, keep contestants on stage and even put down others. I seriously doubt that any of this is spontaneous.

One final word; how is it that after all these years the American Idol producers and the Oscar producers are seemingly incapable of consistently bringing shows in on time? There are hundreds of producers who can and do do so, but not those two crews.

Trooper York said...

Since the people vote it doesn't really doesn't matter all that much because people vote for who they want. Witness the Soul Patrol dofus.

If there was any justice they would vote out Crystal this week and the wildly overprasied Lee who does a constipated Bruce Springsteen impression every week.

Doug Smith said...

Screw American Idol. Give me some Radiohead.

BJM said...

I too think that either Crystal or Siobhan will win. IMHO all the guys are wet...except for Lee who, as SGT noted, is just constipated.

The thing Siobhan has going for her is the potential to become a pre-adolecent fashion trend setter (i.e. Hanna Montana)...this influences moms and grandmothers who buy all that crap.

Frumpy Crystal is a deadend for the Idol post show money machine and with the Simon departing they need all the $izzle they can wring out of this season's tour.

Time for Mike or Casey to go.

former law student said...

Margaret Thatcher's intraparty foes were known as the "Wets."

Historically, the term "wet" was English public school slang for someone judged to be weak, feeble or "soppy".

Trooper York said...

Ryan was just pissed because he didn't make Simon wet.

He's funny that way.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

EDH said...

I still love that "homophobic" Feel Like a Woman truck commercial.

A.W. said...

Personally i think that the woman Siloban (sp?) is in the most serious danger. she was terrible, but to be fair i think it was just outside of her range.

i also felt that in general this was little bit of thin gruel for them. There are two things about shania that i think harm this. first, she isn't really that great a singer. I'm not saying they aren't good songs, but I think she is more like janet jackson, not known for range of expectional skill, but just for making good songs.

Second, she has had, what? 3 albums? she needs to have a bigger catalogue to support them. Sometimes it makes sense to limit them to a single artist or band, but sometimes it really doesn't.

And i thought bowersox was a little flat, but she was so good last week she can be flat for at least two weeks and still coast.

Trooper York said...

Siobhan will win because the favorite (Boxershorts) almost never wins.

They dogged her the last few weeks but she has a lot of power and will blow the doors off in the next few weeks.

michaele said...

Ha, DialIdol has Aaron first so I guess his dedicating the song to his mom might have proven successful. I wasn't in love with Crystal's song selection but she still got some of my votes. I'm also a Casy fan. I'm ready for Big Mike to go. His voice has started to grate on me. I thought Siobhan got screamy at the end...and, in fact, she sounded off to me for most of the song. I was surprised Simon didn't nail her for that.

Trooper York said...

You have to analyze each of the contestants and see where the votes will go after their favorite gets eliminated. It doesn’t go to the favorite because if they were your favorite you would have voted for them in the first place. So you have to think about who will pick up votes as they whittle down the field.

Casey has the good time rocker vibe that doesn’t translate to the tweens and their moms. I mean the Allman Brothers and Led Zep and Aerosmith are grandma’s bands. (Right professor). So he is not going to pick up a lot of votes from the other blocks. Especially anybody younger than 25 or so. But that’s all right. He can just party like its 1979.

Aaron got the fawn in the headlights look but is not enough of a girl/man like previous runner ups like David Archuleta to get the teenage girl who wants a boyfriend just like him votes. They want a boy who is pretty but won’t want to pressure them into sex. The spiritual sons or more likely the grandsons of Bobby Sherman. Or to be in this century, one of the Brothers Jonas. Aaron’s peeps are limited to his family and elves. Which are actually the same people. But I bet they have great cookies.

Lee is a poor imitation of Bruce Springsteen who sings every song the same way. Traffic jam in the Tunnel of Love dude. The judges are praising him to the skies because they want him to come along just far enough to lose in the finale. Like Blake the Boom Box dude from a prior season. The only guy who worked in a paint store who ever did anything in music was Tony Manero. I knew Tony Manero. I went to same clubs as Tony Manero. I had a white suit like Tony Manero. Lee, you sir are no Tony Manero.

Crystal in a fine singer in the Tracey Chapmen mode. But I think she is too Lillith Fair to appeal to a mass audience. Or to pick up other people’s votes as we go along in the contest. If you aren’t voting for her now you are not going to do it later. A lot like Melinda Doolittle was in a prior season. The only people who really love her are New Orleans Saints fans and unemployed dentists.

Big Mike is a big chocolate pudding pop of a dude. But you see America already voted in a bland black guy with a seemingly pleasant persona. They ain’t gonna make that mistake again. Just sayn’

Finally there is Siobhan. She is a gawky awkward young girl who a lot of people think is kinda weird. But she has a lot of talent hidden under a shy shell and a pair of ugly glasses. So who votes the most for American Idol? Gawky awkward early teenage and tweener girls who think that everyone thinks that they are weird. And their Moms. Siobhan is one of them. Plus she can really sing. And she is not the favorite. So a vote for her is defying Dad (Simon) and helping a girl just like them win. It’s a natural.

Wait and see.

PJ said...

A lot like Melinda Doolittle was in a prior season. The only people who really love her are New Orleans Saints fans and unemployed dentists.

Now you take that back!

MindyDoo is the best Idol singer OF ALL TIME, and I'm, well, I ain't neither of those things you said.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

Simon doesn't like Mike, probably because he is such a big guy.

Mike, Casey, and Crystal are my favorites. How that horrible skanky Siobhan stays on is beyond me. I have yet to hear her sing a single song on key and she shrieks and she looks creepy.

Randy Jackson is tone deaf, IMHO. Anyone who could like Siobhan has to be, she is just terrible.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

I mean the Allman Brothers and Led Zep and Aerosmith are grandma’s bands.

I'm a Grandma and I'm more a Bob Seger, Neil Diamond, Billy Idol, Jimmi Hendrix, and, of course, Elvis fan. Aerosmith yuck, Allman Brothers, double yuck. Maybe early Zeplin.

Trooper York said...

I am very sorry PJ. It does seem from your photo that you are not familiar with dentists.

My apologies.

Trooper York said...

I also apologize to you Sara(Pay2Pal). Not everyone can rock out like Neil Diamond.

Billy Idol? What can I say to that?

Mony Mony?

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

Trooper York:

Well maybe I was pushing it a bit with Billy Idol, but yes "Mony Mony."

I am just an ol' rock'n'roller at heart. I have two main criteria, can I dance to it and does it have a hard driving back beat with great drums and/or sax.

Lately, though, I'm liking the music of my Mother's era of big bands and ballads. I don't think it is an age thing, more a nostalgia thing since this was the music I heard playing around the house from birth until I was a pre-teen getting into "my own" music.

Trooper York said...

Hey if Billy Idol was good enough for Frank then he is good enough for me!

SteveR said...

Crystal is the only one I care to watch each week and having three daughters, I'm partial to the apparently great relationship she has with her father. How much that (and her talent) translates into getting votes once the field narrows is hard to say.

I'd predict a final of David Archuleta Jr vs Crystal or Siobhan but I'm trying not to act wet.

A.W. said...

Oh, can i call them or what?

Siobhan kicked. Too bad, because on balance she didn't deserve it.

MadisonMan said...

Yes, it's too bad Siobhan left, but she didn't give consistently good performances. Of course, neither do the other two members of the bottom 3 this week. Lee and Crystal in the final. Anything else will be sub-par.

Trooper York said...

On the other hand, what the fuck do I know.

I thought the Giants were going to win the Super Bowl and that Jesse James was a cool dude.

Sometimes you are just wrong.