February 22, 2006

"American Idol" -- the guys!

Oh, yeah, I am here, ready to blog the guys. Sorry, I had to talk on the telephone. Now, to the TiVo.

Patrick Hall. "Come to My Window." Relaxed and elegant, I think. But Randy accuses him of being nervous, and he concedes it. Paula says something incoherent. Then we see a shot of a man and a woman in the audience. I assume these are his parents. But, oh my lord, the woman has the largest artificially inflated lips I have ever seen! I rewind and pause. I'm looking at them now. I'm shocked and appalled.... and yet, I cannot look away!

David Radford. He's trying to be Frank Sinatra. And he's 17. "A Crazy Little Thing Called Love." He's a kid, acting the role of an adult. Is there something wrong with that? It's a crazy little thing. But I'm sympathetic. Is there some other way to become a man? Randy thinks it's phony and terrible: "This is like some kind of act." Paula feels the womanly feeling. We like him! Simon sees it as "a bit of a joke," but he thinks "the audience at home" -- my translation: women! -- will like him.

Woozy and southern, it's Bucky Covington. We here in Wisconsin kinda like your first name. Ooh! He's the new Bo! He sings Skynyrd. But it's so cheesy and gutteral. I don't see how a guy can do this out in the bright lights, without a band all around him. Randy: "Cool." Paula: "You're growing. It's like a whole journey for you." Simon: "I like the fact that you're just very raw... Having said that..." Ryan: "This is a real guy right here."

Will Makar. He's 16. I love this boy. Don't hurt him! He's singing a Jackson 5 song, "I Want You Back." Great song! Very karaoke. You feel the intense voice of Michael Jackson that is missing here. Randy: "I was like, yeah, all right." Paula: "You remind me of Bobby Brady. It was Bobby Brady." Simon: "Okay. The reality check.... Unfortunately, vocally, it was completely and utterly average."

Can we accept a bald contestant? It's Sway (Jose Penala). He's singing the Earth, Wind and Fire song that his parents fell in love to. We see his parents grooving. It's all falsetto, horrifyingly so, then mellow, and I almost want to like him. Randy: "Dude!" Paula: "Amazing!" They like the falsetto. Simon: "We're really on a different page tonight. I thought it was a really pimpy..." Paula screams.

Chris Daughtrey. He's bald too. They use the fire background for him, which is always bad luck. "Wanted, Dead or Alive." He belts it with a nice raspiness. Paula gives him a standing O. Randy: "Great recording voice." Paula: "I've been wowed by you from day one." Simon: "Now, I'm hearing somebody with potential." Ryan: "Simon's starting to go to the happy place."

Kevin Corvais. He's 16. And nerdy. Really, really nerdy. Maybe this is what Karl Maulden looked like when he was a boy. Singing, he looks 5. We see his mother. I know exactly how she feels: an intense, deep joy. "I guess I'm down to my last cry." Randy: "You're such an honest, real kid." Paula: "You know how I feel about you: squish." His response: a Gomer smile and a readjustment of his glasses. Simon: "I apologize America. Kevin, I like you, but..."

Gedeon McKinney. He announces the song, "Shout," in a weirdly theatrical way. "Come on now. Don't forget to say you will." Hey, he's great, with great pop feeling. "You've been good, better than I've been to myself." The way he sings that, I interpret the lyric in a way that I never did before. Randy: "Good.... I was absolutely entertained." Paula: "I totally was thrown for a loop." Simon: "It was as if I was watching the warm-up for the Chippendales."

Elliot Yamin. I'm sorry. Beard without a mustache? No, no, no, no, no. Is that belt buckle an audio cassette? He admits he's karaoke, doing the Stevie Wonder song that the karaoke kids back home request. But he's clean and good. Still, he's the least attractive of the guys. And that's including Kevin! Randy: "Another hot one." Paula: "Effortless. You just have fun." Simon: "Potentially, you are the best male voalist we've ever had."

Bobby Bennett. He's singing "Copa Cabana." No, it's not possible. No. Look away!

Ace Young. He's singing "Father Figure." He likes George Michael. Apparently, this man sees something sacred in my eyes! I will be your father figure ≈ I will be your Constantine. Randy: "Star. And can sing." Paula: "All of the girls, and a lot of my guy friends too..." Simon: "Really, really good."

And for last, they've saved Taylor Hicks. He's singing "Levon." Beautiful! "He calls his child Jesus, because he likes the name." Paula: "Everything just exudes from you." Paula's all passionate, professing her love. Randy chimes in: "There's never been anyone on the show in five years like you." Simon: "I said in the beginning.. that I didn't think you should make the finals. I was wrong." Can I go back to the lyrics? "Alvin Tostig has a son today." What's with that name? Tostig? My grandmother's maiden name was Tausig, so I always heard Tausig. But Tausig/Tostig -- it's such a specific name, in a song where Jesus is highlighted as a good name. What's with that? I've been wondering for decades!

But back to generalities: The guys!


Ruth Anne Adams said...
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Tristram said...

RE: Sway's Song

I think it really was supposed to be sung that way.

I didn't like it, but I think it technically was well done and immensely harder than the song any of the others sang.

me said...

I thought they were all horrible, esp. come to my windo dude..., except a few...

grey hair boy is good, the guy who did the george michael tune, and the falsetto earth, wind and fire guy...

i think this is the worst season

chuck b. said...

If you could make money writing little capsule reviews like this... well, I'm sure you'd get full tenure right away.

Hecla Ma said...

I always thought the song was "Alvin Tosig has a son today..."

I musta been wrong.

I liked the second bald guy, the last guy and the stevie wonder guy, and Ace is certainly beautiful. All in all, I was sorry to miss Paris last night.

dtcntrl said...

Need to take it to final-4:


1. Ace Young
2: Taylor Hicks

Dark Horse: Eliott Yamin


1. Katherine McPhee
2. Lisa Tucker

Dark Horse: Pick Pickler!

Need to be ejected tomorrow:


1. Bobby Bennett
2. Bobby Bennett


1. Stevie Scott
2. Ayla Brown

Jerome C. Austriaco said...

Prof. Althouse,

Please listen to the recorded version of "Reasons" and, if possible, Sway's version again. You may reassess his performance. He was brilliant. You also neglected to mention that he hit and held a great high note that I daresay none of the other male (or even some of the female) contestants would be able to competently hit and sustain.

Pete said...

Yay! American Idol bloggin! Thanks, Ann.

Sway was too pimp-tastic for me. David had some oddball grimaces that was unsettling though I like crooners. I love Will and Kevin, please don't hurt them. Drat, Ace was good, though Father Figure disturbs me as a song. (Check the American Idol website and Ace's profile reveals him to be every parent's perfect boyfriend for his/her daughter. Drat again.) I liked Chris, Elliott, and Taylor.

The boys seemed stronger than the girls and I thought the same last season. Still, both nights were immensely enjoyable. I'll hate to see any of them go.

knoxgirl said...

I can't decide if I like Taylor or if he annoys me.

It is painful, PAINFUL, to watch poor Kevin. I can barely make myself listen to the judges feedback because I'm afraid they're going to hurt his feelings!

Ruth Anne Adams said...
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altoids1306 said...

Perhaps it is the way things must be, but I find that Althouse is much more charitable to the men than the women.

altoids1306 said...

Perhaps this is the way things must be, but I find that Althouse is much more charitable to the men then the women. It's like night and day.

MadisonMan said...

Perhaps it is the way things must be, but I find that Althouse is much more charitable to the men than the women.

That was my impression too, as a non-watcher. But the shows were on different days, which could explain things.

I have to ask though: why would anyone think Copacabana would be a good song to sing? Eesh.

SteveR said...

There is no doubt that Ann is more charitable to the men than the women but that's ok, I'm just the opposite. Ace turned out better than I'd imagined, in general the men had better song selection which helps. Still Copa Cabana I didn't look away in time, my nine year old may not be able to go to school today.

jult52 said...

"Please listen to the recorded version of "Reasons" and, if possible, Sway's version again. You may reassess his performance. He was brilliant."

Sway had pervasive pitch and intonation problems during this song. I don't see how you can write this. I think Sway is a talented guy and can sing but last night was not a good one for him.

olivia1 said...

My husband and I are both on the Taylor train so in our household he appeals to both sexes. Right now his passion,genuine talent and "unusual" mannerisms are entertaining and even endearing. He makes us laugh out loud with his exhuberant spontaneity so he gets high marks for being entertaining. Now, it's possible the Taylor shtick will not wear well but it'll be intersting to see if our fan enthusiasm for him lasts.

Adam said...

Ruth Anne, Season 3 had only four men voted into the final twelve (under the old semifinal format, with no attention paid to gender), and three of them were jokes -- Jon Peter Lewis, Matt Rogers and John Stevens. So they decided for last season to force six men into the finals to improve the odds.

Over at ALOTT5MA, we're still creeped out by Bobby, no one saw what Cowell saw in Elliott, and, personally, I thought the best singer was the backup singer on "Dead or Alive"

The Postulant said...

Amen, jult52. Sway's performance was excruciating. Here's my semi-live-blogging take, for what it's worth.

AngelaTarantula said...

I actually attempted to not look while Ace sang 'Father Figure', so as to avoid being influenced by his ...well, everything. Of course it's not a difficult song, a lot of sort of chanting, but he was good. Also had to look away during Elliot, for the same reason. Great voice there; needs intense dental and coiffure work, though. As Simon keeps pointing out to shrieks and boos, this IS supposed to be a popular, star-type person, not just a voice.

LarryK said...

I gotta give mad props to the dudes last night - kind of pitchy sometimes, but they worked it out in the end. Definitely an interesting and eclectic bunch of characters, not like the girls who are all Kelly Clarkson wanna-bes. Last night restored my faith in American Idol, at least for now.

37921 said...

My wife and I think it's the best season in a while, much better than last year.

I would buy a Taylor Hicks CD right now, that guy is good. Plays a mean blues harp too.

PatCA said...

Good show but a little too long at two hours! I like the shots of the nervous beaming parents in the audience--fun.

I'd like to see Taylor Hicks do a little Bob Dylan or The Band! He won't be the final idol but will have a career, I'm sure.

I agree that some of the voices were good but their looks are not the stuff of pop starts and that's part of it.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
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Harkonnendog said...

About Tostig name, from the straight dope:

Tracing the name "Alvin Tostig" is fairly straightforward, but with a bit of a twist. Taupin has said the name was fictitious. But Taupin was from Wessex and there was a historical "Tostig," who was the Earl of Wessex back in the 1040s. So perhaps Taupin pulled the name out of history without realizing it.

Jill Monroe said...

Sway wasn't my favorite performance of the night, but that high note he held was amazing.

And I'm with knoxgirl, I can't decide if I really like Taylor or if he's annoying. I guess time will tell.

Elliot's voice was amazing, and I really like Chris, too.

hygate said...

I know I'm in a minority of one on this, my wife and neighbor looked at me like I was insane when I told them, but I liked Coca Cobana. I thought it was fun and it's the only song I know of that described a knife fight before the advent of Rap. Oh, and in reference to the Professor's comment about Bobby Brady - I thought he looked like Donny Osmond covering the song. I started wondering were Marie was. "I'm a little bit country, I'm a little bit rock-n-roll" No! You are not rock-n-roll Donny. Not even a little bit!

MadisonMan said...

I thought it was fun and it's the only song I know of that described a knife fight before the advent of Rap.

How could you forget Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown! You need to listen to Jim Croce more. (Heck, everyone does!)