April 12, 2005

Remember your birthday?

Oh, it's that time again! Another round of "American Idol." I pick up the TiVo controller with trepidation. Ryan Seacrest acts like it was a travesty that Nikko Smith lost out last week, but Nikko deserved to go. Seacrest chides us: "Watching the show without voting is like starting a conversation with Randy: pointless." Obviously, he knows nothing of the pleasures of blogging a crap-ass TV show.

What's the theme tonight? Ryan tells us: "Songs from the year you were born. Remember your birthday?" What the hell kind of question is that? If you can't remember your birthday, I'd suggest sitting home on a comfy sofa and just watching the big show.

First up, Nadia Turner. Born in 1977. I guess I wasn't paying enough attention in 1977, because this song means nothing to me, but Nadia's huge hair and drapey, ultra-short, red dress mean a lot. Still, I'm bored out of my skull with this song. The word "dream" is in it. And the words "come true" are in the last line, after which she gives a syrupy smile. Ha! Randy doesn't know the song either. "It's from Crystal Gayle." Paula wows over the look, but the song: umm... Simon says "That was musical wallpaper." Seacrest: "Of all the songs in that year, why did you pick that one?" Answer: dreamy, dreams, dreeeeeemssssss, I'm a dreeeemer.....

Bo Bice is going to sing "Free Bird." 1975. I am so up for this! Randy and Paula love it, but Simon advises him to "use the rock influence on your voice on well-known songs." "Free Bird" isn't well known??? "Free Bird" is iconic! Simon says it's a "sacred song" that you shouldn't "run all over the stage" singing. So it's "sacred" but not "well-known"? Simon speaks in a very self-consciously rational way, but sometimes he says something that just doesn't make sense. What did he mean? I do agree, however, that Bo shouldn't roam about so much. And I like the way, when Ryan tried to hold his hand, Bo jerked his hand away.

I start thinking about what songs would be available to me, if I could be on the show. I'm way too old and I'm a horrible singer, but still ... Here's the list from my year, and my song from that list is "Sweet Violets." I remember hearing it once. I was in bed and overheard my parents playing it. I loved it deeply and the next day asked my parents about it. They told me, it was not for children and I couldn't hear it. Was it about sex? Death? Oddly, though I've always remembered it, I have never bothered to find the song and listen to it. I can still hear it in my head from that one listen, but I've never heard it again. I rush over to iTunes. The Dinah Shore hit is not there (only a Mitch Miller version). Ah! here are the lyrics. It's a bizarrely veiled filthy song from the past! Good thing my parents protected me, or protected themselves from having to deal with my questions.

Anwar Robinson. 1975. "I'll Never Love This Way Again." In the intro, he admits that as a little kid, he didn't talk, but he found a voice for himself in music. That's genuinely touching. How many musicians can say that? Most, perhaps. Maybe I'm too much of a mom, but that brings tears to my eyes. Randy says he's "the best singer in this competition." Paula: "The tone of your voice... is mesmerizing." Even Simon likes it, but then says "comforting ... like a blanket." True! Anwar is a sweetheart. And the repeated phrase "I know I'll never love this way again" really is very engaging.

Anthony Federov, born in 1985, is singing "Every Time You Go Away," that nice Paul Young song, a good choice for him. Halfway through, I'm thinking, it would be fun to hear Clay Aiken sing this. Anthony's okay, but he's a little short of power. He ends well enough. The judges like him, including Simon. An example of good song choice.

1984 is the birth year of our dear Vonzell Solomon, who sings "Let's Hear It For the Boy." I hate the song and I hate the instrumentation. I predict she'll be in the bottom three. I'm tired of strenuousness. Paula tells her "you're adorable up there," and Vonzell beams in a way that makes me love her again, much as I detest that kind of crap music.

Scott Savol was born in 1976, and they show a picture of him as a pissed off, scowling baby. Ah! Give the boy credit for what he's achieved if sourness was ingrained biologically. He's going to sing "She's Gone." Hall and Oates. He says, he's the rocker in this competition. Hall and Oates are in the audience and we see them nodding enthusiastically. This may be the best song choice ever on "American Idol." The high notes are beautiful. Paula's up and dancing. Randy: "Scotty... you got it started man... you brought it home." Paula: "Awesome." Simon: "Scott, you're a nice guy, however...." Scott protests: "I think I rock."

Carrie Underwood is next and is it mean of me to hope she screws up? My #1 goal for Season 4 is: Carrie must fail! 1983 is her year and "Love Is a Battlefield" is her song. Damn, that's a song that could win me over! She's a bleating zombie, swiveling her hips in a way that's intended to be sexual. It's strenuous... and bleaty... How I detest her! Please, slam her! Randy: "pitchy... you messed up the words." It's a song Paula has covered, so maybe Paula will be critical. No, she says "I think you rocked." Simon: "It was a little bit like watching a kitten who wants to be a tiger." Randy: "Finally, he speaks the truth." Yes!

Last tonight is Constantine Maroulis, the Justin Guarini of Season 4. Born in 1975 and singing "Bohemian Rhapsody"! We love the boy! Crazy white light blinds us, and then, there he is, all charismatic. We love him! Simon: "That was astonishing!" Seacrest: "He's never, ever used that word on this show." He sang "Bohemian Rhapsody," people. It's Constantine! The next American Idol.

Jeez, I'm even considering voting for the first time this season.

Now, I kind of like them all. Except Carrie. Let that phony girl go. Bottom three (in my dream world): Carrie, Nadia ... ?.... Anthony?


Allah said...

I haven't heard a professor use the word "crap-ass" since the Lochner class in Con Law.

bos0x said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Adam said...

I would shed no tears were the above post -- vicious and unwarranted -- to be deleted post-haste. It's wonderful to use the freedom of pseudonymity to spew such bile.

I thought Scott was beyond awful tonight. The non-chorus parts were wobbly, and he didn't approach the notes Hall still hits at age 50.

And Carrie -- who brought back Goat Girl?

jennifer said...

Thankfully, another person who sees Barbie for the plastic doll that she truly is.

And I thought I was the only one.

Scott was not as terrific as he can be, but he certainly was not the worst tonight. Can't say that for last week.

Bottom three? Nadia and two other people.

Ann Althouse said...

Allah: I'll have to start saying that in class.

Adam: Thanks for defending me against the dreaded "bosox" -- a friend of Carrie's?

Jennifer: Glad to hear from other members of the anti-Carrie club.

Laura Reynolds said...

Constatine is not my favorite but deserves credit for even attempting that song and doing a credible job, given good song selections he could win.

How utterly weak to be posting hate speech on Althouse

Joan said...

I never watch the show, but whenever I find an "American Idol" recap here, my heart leaps a little, because they are so much fun. I am almost interested enough to watch it! Almost -- but even with TiVO, I don't seem to want to make the time for another TV show. Plus I'm not sure I would ahve as much fun reading the recaps if I watched it myself.

Thanks, Ann. I've been meaning to tell you for some time how much I enjoy these posts. (Yay for comments making this so easy! I know, it reflects rather poorly on me that I was too lazy to express my gratitude via email. Forgive me.)

neo-neocon said...

Ah, but what doesn "astonishing" mean? Simon is so cryptic it could mean "astonishingly crass" or "astonishingly wonderful," or just about anything in between. As for Carrie, my main problem with her is that every song she sings lacks shading--it's done at a single intensity, whether screaming (tonight) or merely loud (other nights). She needs to learn to lighten up (literally) now and then.

Ann Althouse said...

Stever: thanks for the support.

Joan: thanks. Commenting and emailing seem to be about the same level of difficulty. I appreciate people putting comments up for everyone to read.

Neocon: yes, I saw people on Television Without Pity making similar comments about "astonishing." Usually when Simon has an ambiguous word like that he'll pause and then add "astonishingly bad." Maybe Constantine has transcended good and bad and is just good/bad entertainment.

bos0x said...

I apologize for disgracing this sacred blog of the high holy heavens, SteveR. How utterly weak to immediately remove a post critical of you, Ann.

Truth must hurt.

Gerry said...

When Constantine started, I told my wife "this will either be great or an absolute train wreck". Trying to sing Freddy Mercury is not for the faint-hearted.

I was anticipating train wreck.

He was good though. I think Simon chose his word very well.

I liked Carrie though-- always have-- but her last note was poor, and bless her soul, she doesn't have an ounce of sex-kitten in her. It just doesn't work for her.

I think Bo is stuck in some doldrums, and is in trouble soon if he can't find a way to really shine.

Scott-- how does one manage to serviceably do Daryl Hall but struggle to do John Oates? I don't hold it against him that Hall at 50 could do better. Not too long ago, I saw some cable concert where Hall and Oates performed "on request", meaning that they called on people in the audience to request a song, and then they would play it. They ended up doing a cover of "Me and Mrs. Jones", and it was one of the best vocal performances I have ever seen. Hall and Oates music never quite let him shine the way he is capable. That man can sing.

But back to Scott. He was good, not great. Anthony has a nice voice, but where Carrie has no sex, Anthony has no soul. He really needs to learn from Scott-- or even better, from Daryl Hall.

I think that Nadia, Bo and Scott will be in the bottom three. Bo will be first back. Nadia will go home.

Ann Althouse said...

Bosox: this is my place, and some things matter here. Plenty of people disagree with me, and I don't delete their posts. I have some standards about form, and you violated them. It was a commenter who first called for your post to be deleted and a commenter who called you "weak." If you really think you're such an oracle of truth, start your own blog. You can link to me and criticize me there according to your own standards. It's very easy to set up a blog, so don't whine about being censored here.

Julie said...

For as much as I've been barraking for Bo and Nadia since we first saw them singing, I am beginning to think Vonzell might actually be the most consistent singer in this final group. I know Ann didn't like the song this week, (I loved it, but it could be childhood nostalgia), but she really is shaping up to be a major contender in my mind.

Constantine's theatrics are just too over the top for me. I can't even get past his facial contortions to listen to his voice. Carrie and Constantine should take lessons from one another. A balance of the two would be perfect.

Ann Althouse said...

Jennifer, you're right that I don't like that song. "Let's Hear It For the Boy" -- what boy? I have no idea what it's about. It's a cheer, for some boy. Why? And what style of music is it supposed to be? Disco? From 1984? Weren't we rid of disco by then?

Okay, now I've gone and read the lyrics and know that "the boy" in question is just a perfectly ordinary boyfriend. Fine that you like him, but we're supposed to break into applause just because your boyfriend isn't a complete louse?

neo-neocon said...

Hmmm: Constantine, "Beyond Good and Evil." Interesting concept :-).

Glad you've enabled comments here, especially for American Idol. American Idol was born to be commented on.

Larry K said...

Someone has to stick up for Carrie, so let me do it..

I think she's the Kelly Clarkson of the season - not as good as Kelly, but cut from the same squeaky clean, good Southern girl mold. And the glazed look she sometimes gets is kind of endearing. It shows they're not all slicksters like Constantine.

So who do I hate? Anwar! He's Lionel Ritchie's wussy younger brother. And in spite of what Randy says, he really can't sing. You might even call it crap-ass.

Bold prediction - they leave in the following order

Nadia (tonight)

Vonzell (my personal fave) vs. Constantine in the Big Show, with Constantine the next AmIdol

Laura Reynolds said...

Ann, you just gotta love any song with the line.."he's my lovin one man show" don't you? Well ok maybe not..

Gerry said...

I'm telling you-- if he gets a chance with the show themes, Bo should do Charlie Daniels Band's "Reflections". It would fit his voice perfectly and be fresh for much of the audience (which has never heard of it).

Emily said...

Bo has become uninteresting. I've started to wonder if this is because his hair covers up too much of his expression. Anyway, it annoys the crapass out of me.

Constantine has a big reserve of good will from me for singing the Partridge Family song "I think she loves me" a few weeks ago.

Nadia has to go, then the Federov boy.

coco said...

I thoroughly enjoy your "American Idol" recaps. You've inspired me to get back to it myself. I humbly, yet also saucily, invite you over to peruse my recap of last night's wailfest. I'm at:

Or, maybe easier: Go to The Anchoress. Scroll down to the very bottom of her blogroll, Worship Naked. (You don't have to be naked to come by. But you could be. I mean, how would I know?)

Greg said...

I was born in 1974. Had I been on the show, I could have performed Autobahn by Kraftwerk. 22 minutes and 43 seconds later....

Maya said...

Listen, Scott sucks. I cant velieve Constantine is out! How can it be? What am I supposed to watch? Scott? Anthony? I'm not watching American Idol anymore. Exept for Vonzell, I only like her, and Carrie, but we all know she's out sooner or later. I think Scott should go out, then Anthony, and then your left with the bottom three. By the way, I know you all hate him, but I love Simon! He's amazing!

Maya said...

But I think Scott should have gone out like the second audition. I love Constantine! But he's out :(