April 3, 2018

"What the hell am I doing here?/I don't belong here..."

Ada Vox/Adam Sanders on "American Idol" last night:

"Creep" is kind of an "American Idol" tradition, notably from Jena Irene in Season 13:

And former "American Idol" contestant Haley Reinhardt did a nice Postmodern Jukebox rendition:

Here's the original, by Radiohead:

Bonus! The Pretenders!

Is this the most coverable song ever? Look, it's Prince at Coachella in 2008:

And — my lord, he's everywhere — Putin!

Just a joke, that last one. Not real. Here's the original, Putin singing "Blueberry Hill."

But back to Ada Vox/Adam Sanders — who made it through to the top 24 on last night's show. Sanders, as Sanders, sat before the judges who rendered their verdict, after all the songs had been delivered in the Ada Vox persona. In Season 12, Sanders had performed without using the female persona, and he succeeded, but only up to a point. It was interesting last night to see him return to Adam Sanders...

... and he did not make it clear whether he would do what is the more daring thing for him and perform without the makeup, wig, and costuming. It's harder for him to be accepted in the form of male that he is, and he's already lost the competition doing that, so we'll see how much he chooses to challenge America as he offers to be its idol.

Meanwhile, it was daring to do the song with the lyrics, What the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here.


Bob Boyd said...

Her dress looks like a brat with grill marks.

rehajm said...

Vega Choir, too.

ex-madtown girl said...

I wasn’t a huge fan of the movie The Social Network, but I enjoyed the trailer made for it (more than the movie, actually!). The choral cover of Creep worked well:


EDH said...

Ada Vox sings "I'm a creep."

As they say: When you're right, you're right.

Jeff Roth said...

Except for Prince and Chrissy, the other singers seem to have lost sight that this is a song of bitter loneliness, not a pop song.

Ada/Adam in particular sounds like a loung singer, at best.

Gahrie said...

I like Brian Crum's version:


Ralph L said...

Wish the audience were loud enough to drown out the wiggling notes.

Why do people yell during the song? They even do it at the opera.

Bob Boyd said...

I admire Ada Vox/Adam Sanders.
It would be easy for him/her to get depressed and give up.
He/she has balls.

Having said that, the cynic in me wonders if Adam Sanders did this on his own or if the show went to him and proposed the idea. In any event, I wish him/her success and happiness.

Ann Althouse said...

"Having said that, the cynic in me wonders if Adam Sanders did this on his own or if the show went to him and proposed the idea. "

Yeah, that's consistent with what I said about him in my March 31 post:

"All the performers are wearing costumes, even the guy in khakis and a checkered shirt. As RuPaul said — and I quoted here a week ago — "We're all born naked the rest is drag." And speaking of RuPaul, his show is really popular these days, so it's not surprising that the struggling "American Idol" wanted to get in on the action. I think Adam Sanders as Ada Vox seems old-fashioned and depressing compared to the drag queens on "RuPaul's Drag Race," but Ada Vox has a good vox, not to my taste, and who knows what TV pseudo-drama they'll crank out of that story? They already did drag as burlesque comedy with Steven Tyler...."

I do think they look for story lines in people and advise them about how to sell those lines and even direct the action in some of the off-site backstory footage.

And I do think they recruit local performers to do the show. Obviously, they knew Sanders already, since he'd been on the show before. He sang like a woman then and he had a pudgy body and face and manner of gesturing and speaking that feels feminine. I'd like to see much more support for the feminine-seeming male so that men like that don't feel pressure to find a way into being perceived as a female (or accepted as female). There are plenty of men like that, we all know, and they are as deserving of love as everybody else.

Henry said...

Some more for you:

Amanda Palmer performs Creep on Ukelele.

Brandi Carlile performs Creep with big band and huge voice.

Gahrie said...

Why do people yell during the song? They even do it at the opera.

Go look at the Brian Crum link. Not only is the crowd quiet while he's singing, there's two or three seconds of silence when he is done...he had the crowd enthralled.

Ralph L said...

men like that don't feel pressure to find a way into being perceived as a female (or accepted as female).

Did you mean to say "female?" That's so anti-tranny! They could break you for that.

Ralph L said...

Gahrie, that's the sound I want to hear at the end.

Ralph L said...

Crum is far too good looking to know what bitter loneliness is. I didn't care for the breathiness, but he's got skills.

the 4chan guy who reads Althouse said...

If 4chan were to have a 4chan anthem, then that 4chan anthem would probably be 'Creep'. Which is pretty obvious, I know. But here's the thing: the cool people can't take that song from us. The pretty people can't take that song from us. If you sing that song you better be, if not a creep, than at least a weirdo, okay?

I mean, look at the singer from Radiohead. He's scrawny, with a wonky eye. He's famous now, and people consider him cool, but deep down, he's still one of us. A pudgy drag guy singing the song? Sure, that works, even when he isn't in drag. But I think if he sang it in drag then people would be all over his shit, because it would make it seem like he was calling people in drag creeps. So he kinda had to do it without being dressed in drag, because even when you're a weirdo people will jump your shit for not being a weirdo the right way.

Even Prince works, because he was a weird little dude, but he doesn't sing it as 'I', he keeps using 'you', because I think he's trying to make it spiritual or something. But it still works because Prince was always a weird little dude, so he can get away with it.

But, say, Justin Timberlake singing 'Creep'? Sorry, dude, it won't work. I mean, you seem like you're gay and still fucking Jessica Biel, but that doesn't make you a weirdo, you're just a rich good-looking guy who can't figure out his rich good-looking guy shit, don't go fucking with our song.

Or what about Steven Tyler. He's old and creepy, and he still likes the young chicks, but that's not the right kind of creepy, because old creepy rock stars who like the young chicks are just sad, not weirdos. And Steven Tyler is pretty fucking sad.

So I'm reading this Althouse post, and I start thinking, did Bob Dylan ever cover the song 'Creep'? I look it up, but there's only a guy doing 'Creep' in a bad fake Bob Dylan voice. Which isn't even funny, it's just bad karaoke by a guy who probably thinks he's being clever, but he's really just being a douche, because don't fuck with the song that way, asshole.

But I bet Bob Dylan could do a version that would be okay, because he really is kind of a weirdo. When I was in school you could get your ass kicked for listening to Bob Dylan, because that meant you were some kind of hippie fag. And that's close enough.

Mike said...

For a second I thought Adam Sandler was on American Idol. I'd watch that.

Ann Althouse said...

I hate the Brian Crum version.

Too prissily careful at first and then suddenly the sound was — as Meade put it — "as if he was having a baby."

MadisonMan said...

I had forgetten about Jena Irene's bizarre enunciation habit.

Re: Adam Sandler's (yes, that's how I read the name too) performance, I agree with the lounge singer vibe comment above. It's pervasive, especially because of those very distracting eyelashes.

Biff said...

I enjoy and appreciate precise word definitions. I suspect that I am in a tiny minority, but I've never found any dictionary definition of "creep/creepy" to be completely, satisfyingly on-target. More so than with any other word, I find creep/creepy to fall in the "know it when I see it" category, while resisting more accurate definition. I wonder if that makes me a creep.

Yancey Ward said...

It is a credit to Radiohead that the song is so popularly covered on television. It is a great song.

Yancey Ward said...

And the amusing thing is this- most people misinterpret the meaning of the lyrics, as does Ada Vox by performing it in drag.

The Godfather said...

I don't watch American Idol, but in the last couple of weeks my wife and I have happened onto it and have seen this guy, twice. The first time they included a clip of an performance for the same show that he did a few years ago as a male, where the show rejected him, and then a video interview in which he explained that this led him to adopt the "Ada" character. Then in the current show, where he performed in drag, he was approved to move on to the next stage of the competition. My impression was that he was a much more interesting performer in the drag character, than as his male self. I suppose the big question for him is whether there's enough of a market for him as a drag singer, or whether he should choose another line of work.

Bill Peschel said...

I went looking for the version by The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, but it turns out they didn't do one. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Teenage Dirtbag" yes, but not Creep.

Snark said...

I thought Lucas Rossi’s version was one of the more interesting of the talent show takes:


mccullough said...

Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” is another great song with some good cover versions. I like Beck’s version with the surviving members of Nirvana