April 26, 2005

"American Idol" -- songs of the past few years.

The "theme" tonight is songs of the past few years, and with only six contestants left, we're going to while away the extra minutes going back to their home towns and hearing what the townsfolk have to say about how fine a person their favorite son/daughter is.

First we go back to a one-stop-light town in Oklahoma to learn that Carrie Underwood loves fuzzy-wuzzy wittle kwitters and has a mom who tears up just saying Carrie is a good girl. Said good girl trots out in tight jeans and bleats an endless, featureless country thing that involves long-held notes and that teeter-tottering dance done in a spread-legged, bent-kneed stance that the camera forces us to view from the least small-town, mom-pleasing angle. Still, it's all very chaste. And dreadful. Randy takes ten minutes telling her she was off-pitch. Paula murmurs incoherently, but seemingly in agreement. Simon -- acknowledging the ABC exposé in the offing -- says "I don't think anything you say tonight is going to make much difference, to be honest with you," then adds, "Mind you, that applies to every week."

Before the commercial, we see Bo Bice, wearing a dashiki and sunglasses, which makes me think he's decided to go a little Constantine and not take himself so seriously. Back from the break, we see Clay Aiken's in the audience. He has nothing much to say. He's "nervous." Next to him is a woman with black hair in a bun who makes a big point of turning her head away from him. Does that mean she's with him or not with him?

We learn Bo's from a small town in Alabama. He's got a house, a girlfriend, and parents named Nancy and Earl. He seems to be just the complete southern, rocker boy. There's a startling picture of him as a very skinny, guitar-playing teenager. I don't recognize this song either. Some generic rock thing. Randy and Paula praise his authenticity, which ties to the lyrics of that song I don't know.

Vonzell Solomon is from Fort Myers, Florida. She delivers mail and does karate. We see her music teacher and her two handsome brothers who are wearing big T-shirts with Vonzell pictures on them. The brother wearing the baby Vonzell picture breaks down and cries trying to say how much he loves his sister. Another song I don't know. She doesn't seem up to the range and loses some low notes entirely, but she does that end-high-and-big thing. Actually, it was pretty awful. I think she's going home this week. Randy and Paula seem to love it though. Simon? "I have a horrible feeling that wasn't as good as [Randy and Paula] thought." Yes. Too bad. I (heart) Vonzell, but I think she's going, unless Anthony or Scott falters -- which is a decent possibility.

Heather Locklear is here, with her daughter Ava. Ryan Seacrest asks Ava if she's "a big fan of the show" and she pauses: "um..." Good lord, the little girl is still a human being! She's thinking about whether it's true! She has yet to be absorbed into the vast mind of celebritydom. Fight it, Ava! Fight it! "Say yes," they tell her, and she says "yes!" Ava! Fight it! There's still hope!

Anthony Federov is from a small town in Pennsylvania, but originially from Ukraine. We see his parents Natalia and Vladimir, and Vladimir has an old boom box on his lap and he presses "play" to let us hear a recording he made of the first time Baby Anthony sang. You might think I'm totally inured to sentiment on this show by now and that I'm going to say something snide, but I'll admit that at this point, I broke down and cried!

Vladimir is almost like an Andy Kaufman imitation: "He's singin' about long, long time ago." And here's the impossibly blond and blue-eyed sweet boy, aged maybe five, standing in front of a Christmas tree. The baby voice is still playing, and now we see Vladimir wiping tears from his eyes as the camera closes in on him. Natalia (sounding like a Meryl Streep imitation): "He's our dream. His dream: our dream. I can't believe, our dream came true." Now we see the dream boy, sitting on the stage. He, too, sings a song I don't know. Face it, I don't know any of the songs of the last few years.

"I surrender"? He hits a big high note and I just want Vladimir and Natalia to be happy. Ack! This is all so sincere! Apparently, that was a Celine Dion song. Simon says: "You're a very brave man. I personally hated it." See, that's why I love Simon. His point -- basically the same point he made to Carrie -- is he hates that kind of music, but there are voters out there who love it and they'll love you.

"Fans of pouting, stay where you are. That nice freak boy is live after the break." Freak boy? Rewind! Oh, Greek boy. It's Constantine. So Scott goes last: what does that mean? Either Scott has something great this week, and they really do mean to slough off Vonzell, or they are hanging Scott out to dry.

Finally, somebody from someplace big. Constantine Maroulis, born in NYC. His father [ADDED: brother, probably] is the coolest looking guy, like somebody Egon Schiele would draw. I want to draw Constantine's dad. Constantine's dad reminds me of my father. [YET MORE: I "watched it back" and can tell you that guy who looked so much older than Constantine, but so much younger than Constantine's mother, was definitely Constantine's brother.]

Constantine, too, sings a song I don't know. He's dressed in black, wearing various chains, and he keeps kicking his foot at the low-angle camera. Let it be said, at this point, I am completely for Constantine. The question isn't whether he embodies what "American Idol" is, but that "American Idol" must embody whatever it is he is. He's completely serious and completely not serious at the same time. I love that! The judges crab about the performance. What?

Finally, Scott Savol. He's from Shaker Heights, Ohio. Aw, big Scott was a cute kid who sang "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." You can tell from the clips Scott is the one with the poorest, hardest life. They try to put a nice slant on that, but you can tell it wasn't nice. His mom says: "He's the average Joe." Most moms go at least a few levels higher with the praise, even when there's nothing special at all.

Another song I don't know. I guess I haven't listened to new things in the last few years. It's another bland, featureless song, and within a few notes I feel they've put Scott in the last position to hang him out to dry. Scott will go home this week. A sigh of relief for Vonzell. Let's hear the judges try to bury him. Simon: "I'd pack your suitcase."

So, it will be goodbye to Scott this week. The others in the bottom three? Vonzell. Who else? I guess that's the really interesting question to be answered tomorrow night. Regular readers know who I want to see there.


Irene Done said...

Wasn't that Constantine's brother instead of his father?

Ann Althouse said...

He did look awfully young!

Noumenon said...

I was hoping somebody in the comments could identify the song Bo sang.

Matt said...

According to my sources (don't watch "AI")--songs were:

Anthony--"I Surrender" (Celine Dion)
Scott--"Dance With My Father" (Luther Vandross)
Carrie--"When God Fearing Women Get The Blues" (Martina McBride)
Constantine--"How You Remind Me" (Nickelback)
Bo--"I Don't Want To Be" (Gavin DeGraw)--very recent radio hit and theme to WB teen soap "One Tree Hill"
Vonzell--"I Turn To You" (Christina Aguilera)

Adam said...

Just one note: Federov's hometown of Trevose, PA, is an inner-ring suburb bordering on Philadelphia. Predominantly white working-class.

As I wrote on ALOTT5MA, I normally detest him, but tonight he was the best.

Harkonnendog said...

I haven't liked Scott Sonnon all year, but I thought his song tonight was beautiful. Great lyrics!

I loved watching Constantine because all I could keep thinking was "HAH! NOW EVERYBODY WILL SEE HOW MUCH YOU REALLY SUCK!" but apparently I was wrong.

Anthony's father- wow- that was kind of beautiful.

Bo- man you are still the best when you nail it- please start nailing it again!!!

Vonzell... exposed, and not in a good way.


FreakinRican said...

Did Bo Bice's shirt remind anyone of Professor Whitford's outfits?

Ann Althouse said...

harkonnendog: Turns out it was the brother. He may be the most interesting looking person I've ever seen on TV!

freakinrican: That's a dashiki -- a real cultural artifact of the late 60s/early 70s.

PatCA said...

I also thought Con's brother was the coolest guy on the show. Would like to go to after-party with him.

Re the up close and personals: by now, the tension is so thick, they'd break down if the phone rang too loud. Note to Idol: shorten the process or provide on-site and family therapy. Maybe Dr. Sanity is available?

Uncle Mikey said...

I hated it. All of it. And Scott, your father's alive. Dance away, you big dope.