March 8, 2006

"American Idol" -- the last 8 guys.

Okay, I'm really, really tired, as you know if you read the last post, but today is one of the great TV nights of the year: "American Idol" and the finale of "Project Runway." So all my worries evaporate as I settle in for a delicious evening of television. I've washed the dust out of my hair. I've poured a big glass of cabernet. I've fired up the laptop for the compulsive if not compulsory blogging. So let's look at the guys. There are 8 left and 2 must go this week.

I've been called on this before and I openly admit it: I prefer the guys. It's not just that they are guys, it's that guys who do the competition are different from the women. It's kind of a very girly thing, to go on "American Idol." It's like studying ballet. For a guy to do it, he's got a lot of motivation, and he needs to take pains to hold onto his masculinity. Personally, I have no problem with a guy being completely unmasculine, but to succeed on the show, winning America's votes, a guy has some special problems. We tend to think a guy who can sing will be off doing something else. Start a rock band, dammit! To have credibility on this show, they need to justify themselves in a way that the women do not.

So Gedeon sings "When a Man Loves a Woman" and asserts that he picked the song because of all the women he's loved, and then he slips and says his mother, his grandmother. Aw, Gedeon, you don't have to convince me that you're not gay. But I feel like they've pressured him to project masculinity, and my heart goes out to him. And the fact is, he did a terrific job singing the song. And no one got to him and told him to stop saying "God bless you" at every compliment. Gedeon must stay!

Chris Daughtry isn't as great as last week. But we love him. He does an ultra-masculine handshake with Ryan when Ryan comes at him. He's a manly contestant. And he's a great singer too. I think he's likely to win the whole competition. But he is a little muted tonight. That's okay. He needs to give everyone else a chance to catch up, to make this interesting.

Kevin Covais, this year's biggest nerd, astounds us by singing "Starry, Starry Night," the song Clay Aiken screwed up. It's a cursed song, but he does it anyway. The sweet purity of the singing breaks our heart. I don't care what the judges say. Vote for our dear, sweet Kevin.

Bucky Covington. We find out he has an identical twin, Rocky. Rocky and Bucky. Damn, that's charming. Funny that the twin thing, which is always big in the auditions, didn't surface with Bucky until just now. Ooh, they bring up Rocky... and it's utterly charming. Can someone explain that extra long, hanging down tooth that Bucky has over on the side? Half the time it makes me feel sorry for him that his family couldn't get him braces, but the other half of the time it seems quirky and cool, like maybe they ought to make little Bucky pop-on teeth for the rest of us to get that look.

William Makar sings "How Sweet It Is," and he's kind of okay, but I hear the original in my head and know how far short he falls. Randy and Simon try to pressure America to oust him. Paula expresses the love.

Taylor Hicks. "You don’t know me but I’m your brother. I was raised here in this living hell. You don’t know my kind in your world. Fairly soon the time will tell." What's that? Some kind of terrorist song? Nah, it's the Doobie Brothers, doobing. Who the hell knows what that crap is all about? He's all up in a high register. And he's wearing a white shirt and a beige corduroy jacket. This just isn't reaching me. After it's all over, he does that Joe Cocker lean back to remind us of why we're supposed to like him. Feh! The judges bend over backwards to signal us to vote for him anyway. They know he's good entertainment, and they want him to stay. I'm fed up with this phony.

Elliott Yasmin. Deaf in one ear... like Brian Wilson. Ah! But he's awful, singing that disgusting Bryan Adams song "Heaven." Ack! Randy and Paula push him. They want to keep him, and they are lying! That's so wrong. I'm glad Simon slams him.

Oh, lord, it's that cheeseball Ace. Yikes! It's embarrassing. He's making me long for Corey, as he does an insane falsetto on a Michael Jackson song. Horrendous! You've got to be kidding me! The judges all lie. Because he's cute.

My picks to leave: Ace and anyone but Gedeon, Kevin, or Chris.


Susan said...

Thanks Ann for saying Ace was horrendous because I thought he was too, and I couldn't imagine anyone liking his terrifying falsetto except rabid Michael Jackson fans. When the judges said he was "hot" I thought maybe I was out of touch. But no, if Ann agrees with me, then I'm okay.

Jinnmabe said...
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Jinnmabe said...

Finally, with Ace, I can empathize with the females who are so irritated when a female contestant who is good-looking but can't carry a tune in a bucket keeps making it to the next round. Come on, he's not that cute, is he? Boy, he's bad.

Then again, I do not prefer the guys for singing. They all sound so...I don't know. Not that great.(Maybe Gedeon excepted).

I have learned from American Idol that the two most terrible words in the English Language are "Live TV". Without my DVR, I don't watch, because I cannot STAND listening to Paula talk. Randy is half an inch from Paula territory. Simon is hailed as the honest judge, but I don't see him as leaps and bounds better than the other two, just more negative. But negative=truthful for most viewers on a show like this.

Laura Reynolds said...

Ace should go..too cheesy

They want Taylor to stay for the entertainment value but I'm getting tired of the act.

The Brady kid may be gone unless he's getting lots of girls who think he's cute voting for him.

I also thought Elliott was bad. Unlike Brian Wilson, there were no good vibrations happening.

esk said...

This was the first time I enjoyed Elliott. I liked his performance - and, I'm especially glad he lost that jawline hair.

I am hoping that Kevin & Taylor go, but, I don't think we've seen the last of Taylor yet.

Bee said...

I was really disappointed in Elliott's performance. Bryan Adams's Heaven?! Bad song choice for Elliott's voice, which is good at expressing melodic, uplifiting songs. I think Elliot was trying to show his range in the Chris territory (thought I doubt that even Chris could make Heaven palatable).

William Makar isn't doing well either. He seemed to have a nice, strong voice in the auditions, but his song choices are so wooden and cheesy. He should sing more Motown.

I was really surprised with Kevin's performance. I did think he managed to perform: convey meaning and bring something different to the song. It was as if I was hearing the song for the first time--but I still don't think he was the best performer by far.

In comparing Chris's performance to Mandisa's, I think Mandisa's ahead. Surprise!

Kurt said...

Thanks for calling Ace on the hideous cheese factor. I know I said yesterday that at least Paris had the cute factor, and she does, but she's also got a bunch more talent than that sort-of pretty boy. I wouldn't mind seeing him go, but of course he'll stick around for a good, long time. Ugh.

And I'm with stever for being down on Taylor. I just don't get his appeal. Yeah, he's an entertainer all right, but it's not the sort of show that I'd ever go see if I had other choices.

I fully expect that the people will listen to the judges, though, and this week we'll see Kevin, Bucky, and Will in the bottom three. I'm not sure which one will stick around.

michael farris said...

The problem with the guys is that you can say 'American Idol' but everyone is going to hear _Teen_ idol and assume the lithe, smooth skinned, grinning non-threatening male of teenage girl dreams. To win they need to appeal to a broader demographic but the name of show stacks the deck against them from the start. It's one hurdle the women don't have (they have plenty of their own though).

And since sexuality is so highly politicised in the contemporary US (by all sides) they have to make a statement about that as well. This usually takes the form of trying to project a commercially acceptable straight image while maintaining a gay friendly demeanour (without, you know actually using words like 'gay friendly' that could set off the more aggresively red).

But the singers are just fleeting guest stars, the real stars are the jury, it's really all about them (in the Polish and German versions of the show at any rate).

hygate said...
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hygate said...

I totally disagree with the professor about Taylor, but then I like the Doobie Brothers and I'm posting this from Birmingham, AL. I'm partisan. As for Ace, I forget his name, but the last guy who sang falsetto was dropped (despite extensive salvage attempts by the judges) so there is hope. And, is it just me, or does anyone else think that Paula was way to happy last night?

Ruth Anne Adams said...
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knox said...

Yes, Ace was extra creepy last night. The way he gazes into the camera is just wrong.

I can hardly watch Kevin sing, I suspect because I have a 6-month-old son who I project onto him... I realize Kevin is 16, but he's like the ultimate vulnerable child held up in front of milllions to be made fun of. And yes, Ruth Anne, he does have a lisp, which makes it even more painful.

"Can someone explain that extra long, hanging down tooth that Bucky has over on the side" LOLOLOLOL! was there ever a more apt name than "Bucky"...

I like Taylor, just cause he's so enthusiastically unafraid to be a total complete spaz. The way he howls "Soul Patrol" is pretty stupid though, I must admit.

I am enjoying this season a lot more than last. I think Simon's comments are a lot more thorough and insightful. Last year he seemed like he was just phoning it in. He's really the reason I watch.

jult52 said...

Elliott Yasmin was NOT awful. He sang very well -- was very accurate in pitch and has a very fluid, mellow voice. I agree that he could have been more intense but I suggest you listen more carefully.

Laura Reynolds said...

jult52: I did not say that Elliott did not sing well, it was more about the whole package, song choice, etc. He is capable of a better performance, I think he is safe this week though. I'd like to see what he's able to do as the show goes along, some of these guys have given us their best shot already.

jult52 said...

SteveR: I was reacting to Ann A's comment. I agree with what you just wrote.

Laura Reynolds said...

Well you better not sing a song Ann hates...there's no redemption.

Uncle Mikey said...

I disagree on Ace, falsetto is very difficult, as is switching between regular and false, and I think he pulled the song off. And the ratio of girls who dig his sexy schtick to those who don't is 4-1, from my informal poll. He might be around for a while.

Elliot and Chris throttled back, as did Paris. They know they're not going anywhere.

Idol Gossip: Paris and Chicken Little are dating and will announce their engagement on the night Paris wins the whole thing.

Lonesome Payne said...

Kevin has a little bit of a dry sense of humor that surprises me. Ryan to Simon: "I had a dream where you offered constructive criticism." A litle ribald back and forth; Kevin slips in: "I havn't head that dream yet."

Lonesome Payne said...

I don't think Ace was terrible. Although he was creepy. Paula's description of what was hard about what he did sounded accurate. She must have a brief lucid moment.

Kevin's likable, but the way he's decent is duplicated in every show choir in the land. He and William Makar should go, I think. If there's a God, that's what will happen.

Well okay, that might not be the ultimate test.

rhodeymark1 said...

Feh - you gals making fun of Bucky's tooth, but you didn't even mention if he sang. I thought he was a goner after that Garth Brooks "Thunder Road" shtick - but my wife said "shut up and really listen". Last night I gave him a fair chance. *IF* he's able to stick around, he has the ability to take a classic Allman Bros (or even Gregg solo) tune and beat Taylor Michael Mcdonald-Cocker all the way back to the lounge he escaped from. Talk about a forced affectation. Bucky and Chris - with the right choice of songs - could be a rock showdown that would make Bo and Constantine look like Mouseketeers.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
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Brendan said...

I'm embarrassed to admit that I like that "Heaven" song. The gals should sing Maureen McGovern's "Morning After" if they want to test their range.

Bee said...

Ha! For a minute I thought I read 'sing Maureen O'Dowd's "Morning After"'. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what that meant...

I think the problem with Heaven--and other songs of their ilk--is that their so identifiable with the person who wrote and performed them. Bryan Adams could pull it off, but Elliott's rendition just wasn't convicing. I don't think he liked or felt the song, was just trying to compete in Chris' territory...Elliot's a great singer, he should stay with his strengths.

I heard a snippet of Bucky singing "God Bless the Broken Road" in Hollywood week and I thought it was beautiful. Have heard nothing like that since from him, sadly.

JodyTresidder said...

If you can lay off the gratuitous clips at Constantine, thankyouverymuch? - I too listened to Bucky properly for the first time last night - and was astonished. Where has he been hiding that lovely richness?

Also enjoyed the very passive aggressive man-hug Chris gave Ryan (I think I'm using passive aggressive correctly here) - and almost left the room in horror during Ace. If it wasn't for the fact that he pulls a peculiarly vulnerable, supplicating face just after singing - and before the verbal judging - I'd be tempted to be extremely rude. Putting it politely, I thought it was a demented choice.

Moan said...

I'm guessing that Harry Potter (Kevin) and Bobby Brady (William) will be going home but I'm usually wrong.

Bucky is interesting. You could draw a triangle with Bob Seger, Gregg Allman and Ronnie Van Sant at the points and Bucky would triangulate to various points depending on the song. It's not a bad thing to be inside that triangle but he needs to get outside of it to do really well.

Ace was creepy indeed but it was technically a difficult thing to do and you sort of have to admire the risk involved in doing it.

William (Bobby Brady) was better than his arrangement. I thought the arrangement of the James Taylor song was just atrocious...way too fast and would've done anyone in. It didn't work at all whatever the reason.

When Taylor came out and the first notes of "Taking It To the Street" started I said to the hub, "This is a great song choice for him," but then he vocally pushed and pushed and writhed around and for whatever reason it didn't work for me. Basically, it's a laid-back song which didn't work well (on TV) with all of the extra energy.

Watch the crowd response though and there was something obviously happening in the room with him that just didn't come across on television.

The less Amish that Eliot looks, the better. Nice voice but I'm not getting anything at all in the way of *performer* yet. Looked like a lump standing up there singing last night.

Chris can go all the way. Good singer and lots of performance going on.

Kevin needs to get out of the way, unfortunately. As much as they wanted to say they liked him last night I thought the whole song was very iffy on pitch and didn't sell at all.

So Kevin/Harry Potter and William/Bobby Brady.

Moan said...

Oh, one more thing about Ace. Hub grumbled "WTF was he thinking about after 8 bars of the song..."

knox said...

Brendan said:
"I'm embarrassed to admit that I like that "Heaven" song."

hee! me too. I crank it in the car if it comes on the radio, but make sure the windows are rolled up! : P

Ann Althouse said...

Moanique: "William (Bobby Brady) was better than his arrangement. I thought the arrangement of the James Taylor song was just atrocious..."

When I said I had the original playing in my head, I sure didn't mean James Taylor. The distance between William and James is much less than the distance between William and Marvin.

Verification word: gzfuq. I say that sometimes!