Friday, May 27, 2011

American Idol 2011

OK. Here we go. If I hear "in it to win it" or "that was amazing" once more I may just switch over to Have I Got News For You or carry on marking assignments. Two hours - hopefully there'll be something else to be said or this will be a very short post indeed.

The 12 come on. In white suits! More like the Bee Gees. James looks like he was told he had to dress like that. Naima must have forgotten to shave as was the only girl in trousers and silver ones at that. Jacob looked silly. Paul smiled and the whole screen went white except for some stubble. Colgate will have loved that and have probably booked him already for their next ads. Casey wasn't at all obvious - sensible move.

James then returns with Judas Priest and things improved. Scotty must have been thinking 'please don't ask me to follow that!' You had to admire James. 4th place but having a whale of a time, enjoying his new life. Lauren was probably worrying about Judas and Priest being in the same sentence.

Jacob got the job in the end. When he realises that he's missing a note he starts bouncing. He bounced a lot. Gladys Knight was cool. But you do have to wonder: Gladys Knight, Judas Priest . . .

Casey got a spot with Jack Black and they got on well while the camera kept clear of the Fat Bottomed Girls. In fact the cameras seem permanently on distant view. I guess they'll just zoom in on Scotty and Lauren in case they get upstaged.

Thia shone in a girlie spot as they did their best at doing Beyonce before Beyonce herself appeared to show them all up, swishing her hair and looking over her shoulder at the camera so well.

Haley got a great response for a remarkable spot with Tony Bennett that we'll all remember. He couldn't believe his luck and she showed how 3rd place was two places lower than it should have been.

Scotty must have lost the toss for the pimp spot, appearing next with some guy in a cowboy hat and jeans. Nice stuff. Yes, er, nice. To be fair, Scotty did as good a job as the experienced guy and deserves a decent contract out of this. I may find him a bit tedious but he does his stuff very well.

Still a whole hour to go and we've only got Lauren and someone before the results. I guess there'll be some more stars - the 100 million audience sells a lot of product. Past years have included extraordinary performances by the likes of Lady Gaga and Christine Aquilera. Hmm... we get someone called Mark Anthony. Who on earth? Oh Jennifer's husband. And she did look pretty good as she danced.

You almost pleaded for the real Tom Jones to come on and rescue the mess the boys had been making of his tunes. Tom Jones, Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight, Judas Priest... what year is this?

At last, someone modern. Lady Gaga On The Edge of an impressive set doing things with some fellow that Lauren would be well worried about. The camera kept either well back or firmly above the waist as she writhed at the top of massive blocks to a quite excellently commercial number. After she jumped off theatrically, Lauren appears and her first line is along the lines of '..he's gone off with some bleached haired tramp'!! Ha ha! Nervous lines followed and then the beautiful Carrie Underwood joins her and makes Lauren look rather old-fashioned and a bit undeserving of a top 2 place. Lady Gaga wins the star spots, hands and pants down. Haley wins the duet with a star spot.

Beyonce gets yet another album ad with an impressive One Plus One which should have been called Make Love To Me but probably got changed because of Scotty and Lauren and God being so close by. With so many lines starting with I don't know much about... I hope she shares some of the proceeds with Sam Cooke. Good track but not as good as Lady Gaga and both remind us all how far most of the contestants are removed from that sort of 'idolness'.

Bono and The Edge must have been in town and dropped in to do the new Spiderman film number. Superb guitar work that reminded me of the mid 1980s.

Steven Tyler at the piano now taking us back to the 1970s and wearing flares to match. Then he stands up and does what he does best and it's results time at last.

No confetti, after all. Scotty wins. Baby, lock dem doors...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

American Idol: The Final Pt1

Simon Cowell must be so glad he dropped out. There would have been such a fuss when he fell asleep during the ruddy final. Only slightly less fuss than would have followed the comments I suspect he'd have come out with. I don't know how well I'll be able to cope with several hours of Scotty and Lauren doing country tracks. I have a feeling I'm going to get bored and the start didn't persuade me otherwise. Lauren's voice had been damaged during rehearsals to the point where Haley was brought in to prepare her songs and those she did a few days ago would have been really entertaining and possibly given Scotty a good run for his money. However, that was not to be and he kicks off with Gone and she follows with something else I can't remember even a few minutes later.

Now, in a normal week, there'd have been someone promoting their latest CD to watch in between but before I know it we've got Scotty on stage again with some dismal number that definitely can't have got him any votes and I'm beginning to think that my preview of Lauren and the confetti may have been true after all.

She follows with a track Carrie Underwood picked and that girl sure has more sense. Unfortunately a really silly dress showed that the 16-year-old Lauren hadn't. She looked about 6.

Naturally, the judges say nothing of interest and I'm getting fed up. All I want to know is whether I'll win a few dollars and see the confetti. Ah, adverts! Good.

What is it with all these mini-tracks? I got up to get something out of the oven and Scotty had finished his third song. Something about This Big? Fair enough, I guess, but hardly 'an amazing job'. By that standard, several artists did 'an absolutely brilliantly amazing job' in the series and would be CEOs by now. Sorry. Professional, accurate notes, plenty of sales to the good ol' boys, decent lift music, yes. American Idol? No.

Adverts again. Yippee! Oh no, it's that Keith Lemon idiot on ITV2. Last song from Lauren. The way things are going, this could win it for her. Hmmm. Very smart move by someone! This Mother thing was anthemic and just the thing to get old people voting.

I really do see her in the confetti now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

American Idol: The Semi Final

Beyonce looked old. 15 Minutes into the programme Scotty kicks off. Safe and sound, with backing singers squawking the lines awkwardly just before he sang them rather better. Maybe that was to help in case he forgot the words. No baby lock dem doors low notes but he managed all the high notes, just. This was a pretty professional performance but could have been any reasonable country singer really.

Lauren's dress sense left a bit to be desired, or not, as the case may be. For some reason, I think the confetti comment I made last week has lodged in my mind, (déjà vu?) I can see Lauren winning so expected a lot tonight. This was a great track to start with, cheery and bright although she did miss a lot of notes. Nerves got to her too. In a way, I wonder whether singing a song that you've sung since you were 9 was wise. It meant that lots of bad old habits probably crept in and, whilst OK, it was no American Idol 2011 winner's performance.

The judges were notably underwhelmed with both of them. Randy calling Lauren's effort 'nice' and, unbelievably, he called Scotty 'pitchy in places' which Scotty appeared amazed, indeed, to hear.

Far and far and far away the best first track was Haley doing Led Zeppelin. Really difficult to do and she did it tremendously well. Great start. That must have worried the other two. Looking fantastic too. Judges stood to applaud and that made up a lot for previous weeks.

Next came Jimmy Iovine's picks.

Scotty appears in check shirt and jeans, strumming a guitar. All very competent and good but, I don't know, this is just kinda comfortable cruising. Safe and sound again. Is he taking a bit of a chance or does he just know that there are so many voters in country land that it doesn't really matter?

Lauren improved a bit, both in dress sense, well marginally there, and a great deal in performance. Nice delivery and the track worked. She was thinking a bit too much about what she was going to do next for the whole thing to be as convincing as she ought to have been. The skirt was off-putting.

I'd forgotten that Haley had been on AI last year and I guess that accounts, as well as her extra couple of years, for her maturity and confidence. Rhiannon is one difficult track and replacing Stevie Nicks was always going to be less than easy. A nice performance but not quite as gentle as I would have liked and a little desperate at the end. This is the first time she's been less than a real star for weeks for me. 

Beyonce appears yet again on some weird and annoying video about girls running the world or something involving her changing her clothes every line and fiddling around with a pile of black guys for no discernible reason other than to follow some silly script the film producers has devised. Rubbish. Let's move on, please. She's yesterday and does nothing for me whatsoever. That won't make me popular but I'd have run the French Eurovision guy's video. It would have cost a fraction of hers and been far more impressive.

Scotty wearing an apron won't have got him many extra votes but the suit on stage looked better.Nice job of the Kenny Rogers' track. Well done judges for choosing something that pushed him a little and he did a great job. That may have secured his place in the final. It's almost impossible to think of him not being in it but Lauren and Haley have it within their power and appeal to do just that if they get the right tracks.

Lauren got to do the beautiful I Hope You Dance. I don't know that she was old enough to sing the lyrics and mean them although she certainly looked thirty plus with the way someone's made her up (or not). It was a nice pick and ideally in her range - I just reckon it's a song a mother sings to her daughter, not a 16 year old to an audience and certainly the harsher bits she added seemed very out of place. Jennifer dropped a bit of a bombshell by announcing that Lauren had won the round without even hearing Haley which was not on. She does seem to have something against Haley and that was a killer comment.

Haley gets an Alainis Morrisette number and performs that really tough number excellently. I wondered whether the judges had hoped she would crash with that and I'm not sure it was really her choice but, boy, she put her heart and soul into it and, to my mind, wiped the floor, future star-wise, with Lauren and left Scotty looking like a good ol' boy who can do nice country stuff for the rednecks.

Who knows what the votes will add up to? Reminds me of Adam Lambert's brilliant quality and exciting performances, so out-performing the others, and yet he didn't win. Nor did Crystal last year. It may not even matter, as we've seen from who actually has been the big stars from previous years. All three deserve success this year. I find Haley the most impressive and modern for 2011 and beyond.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

American Idol 2011 Final 3

72 million votes screwed the judges and put Haley and Lauren in the final with Scotty, who was there anyway. James had to stop believing but can now get on with annoying audiences with strange high notes and metal thrashing stuff somewhere else. I had to admire his leaving performance, though, and he sure has that star quality - you could see the judges watching and checking their calendars to see whether they were, in fact, not watching the bit at the end of the Final after all.

Only the confetti was missing. But that's being kept for Lauren. That's who they want to win. Haley had to endure yet another load of put downs but I still say she's the one to beat in terms of confidence and a future star. Scotty can just walk away and he'll have contracts galore and can look forward to country gigs for many years to come although I doubt whether he'll have much success on these shores. My guess is that he may even get third place and we'll get a really interesting evening watching two talented girls hopefully at their best.

Enrique Iglesias sang Baby I Like It  and showed "Baby Lock Them Doors" Scotty what a real performance should look and sound like and reminded us all how even the best contestants have work to do. Jordin Sparks also appeared looking much thinner than she used to be with  her new single and doing what Leona Lewis should be doing in the States.

By way of distraction we watched Lady Gaga perform "You and I" in a bikini and yellow hair. Most people will remember her standing on the stool. The contestants were watching this on a video and it was fascinating to see Lauren really not being sure whether she should be watching or not and Scotty needed to do a bit of extra cross-kissing too. This was the track Haley sang in a previous show and I wonder whether she's not seriously thinking about cashing in the publicity with a re-run in the final. Risky, though, and a full version of House of The Rising Sun would be my choice but it will be a battle between The Good, The Bad but not The Ugly next week.

Eurovision 2011: The Garlic Factor or Louis' boys?

It looks like everything depends now on who does or doesn't hit the right notes tonight. JEdward have really got a massive following now in parts of Europe that XFactor didn't reach and their novelty could well make them the one act that can beat the French to win. I really do hope not and doubt whether we can find any more money to lend Ireland to stage the 2012 show.

If they make a balls-up of their dancing and their autotune fails to correct their inability to sing then they may still win 'cos that'll make people laugh but, if voters are in serious mood then France have it in the bag unless the nice young tenor struggles too, which isn't likely but you do have to be willing to be grabbed by his operatic soaring notes and those that don't because Grandad's snoring or the cat's wailing may look elsewhere to cast their precious douze points.

Where else might they go? Normally, I'd say Azerbaijan, - well I'd try to say Azerbaijan and probably get it wrong - but just look at that guy and the way he looks at the girl. Can anyone really vote for that? I suppose if they don't look, or just watch her, then this nice number is pretty much going to appeal in a moderate way to everyone. If getting some decent points from everyone will find a winner then go for little Azerbaijan who do have oil and would be happy to get the business and tourists who'll have no idea where the plane will land.

Last year's delightful winner, Germany's Lena is not only easier to pronounce but also has a cool track and you can be sure she'll do it well. It's just not a Eurovision song so it would need a lot of normal people voting and I can't see enough normal people doing that.

UK and Blue should do well and may pick up good vote numbers from almost everyone so we won't be lounging around at the bottom this year, at least, and stand a chance of winning if, as I said, JEdward are just irritating and the Frenchman burps half-way through.

The only other acts with a chance in my book are Hungary and Finland. I would have added Sweden and Austria but neither lived up to expectations in the rehearsals - good songs and normally the sort of people you'd put money on to be up there but they came across much weaker than their original promotional videos. It's all about wind machines and it doesn't look like they've got any this year.

Hungary is the one to watch and, at 40-1, there's a nice profit to be made. It's got the traditional look and feel of a Eurovision and I can see it now on the compilation CD of winners Vol 45. She is just a little unnerving to watch, though, and anything less than a perfect performance will leave her scraping the bottom of the top ten rather than anything special.

Finland could do what Norway did a couple of years ago but the young chap who's performing the simple number is just a bit too smug-looking for my taste. He is different, though, and people do like the Green Thing and young guys on their own with a guitar and a gentle, unusual song do well. The bookies have him around 27-1 which isn't far off Blue's odds which is intriguing and makes his progress as they start adding up the votes worth watching.

Estonia and Denmark are fancied too at about the same level as UK, Germany, Sweden and Finland which, apart from saying that it's really just between JEdward and the French guy, shows that no-one really has much of a clue this year. I don't get either of them but someone might.

The only real surprise I can think of would be Georgia. If the JEward rubbish and Bosnia & Herzegovina trousers don't appeal and voters like the energetic and attractive rock chick then it really could be a fun evening as everyone wonders why they didn't see them coming. But they probably don't need to worry. Something's bound to go wrong and ruddy JEward will win. And I'll make a massive 10p.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

American Idol: Good Lord and Lady Gaga may help Haley through

This week showed just how different two of these four American kids are to what we might have expected of young pop star wannabees. We had Scotty kissing his crucifix in some apparent attempt to get God to keep Lady Gaga's suggestions for microphone technique from affecting his pure and wholesome mind. Then we had Lauren unable to sing "I'm evil" which made you wonder why on earth she agreed to do the ruddy number in the first place. You also got the impression that at least two of the judges, or the producers, had heavy bets on James, Scotty and Lauren and that they didn't really think Haley should be there at all. God moves, though, in mysterious ways and the Gaga influence may just change everything.

Discovered that Randy was in Foreigner tonight! So James starting with the current commercial anthem Don't Stop Believing was a damn good way to get himself booked in to the final. Something odd happened in the middle when he seemed to be going too slow. This guy is always spot on tone-wise and the screams were thankfully absent too. Not bad, not bad at all. If all else fails he can apply to join Glee, I guess.

Haley followed and I had to wonder how on earth she'd do Michael Jackson's Earth Song. It was a great, passionate effort but she started to growl way too early. So tough, this song and so cut back. She brought it round with a fine ending but, for all the effort, gets the traditional pasting from Randy and JLo who seem convinced that she shouldn't be in the final. It is actually getting quite painful to watch and you just wish a Simon Cowell would appear to shut them up. Steven Tyler attempted a rescue but the damage was done bythen.

Scotty excelled with a truly professional, releasable version of Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning? Note perfect. Classy. Totally professional. Period.

Lauren restored herself brilliantly and put Haley in the shadows with the powerful, anthemic Do It Anyway. Very, very good and this is her area. WIll she become a big star in this area though? Not sure but she is very much being promoted by the judges who seem to be willing to do anything to get her there, inclusing JLo's reference to fluttering confetti coming down next week.

Lady Gaga mentored them for the second numbers and helped Haley create a stunning version of I Who Have Nothing. Magnificent. She held that last note which was so important. I would have preferred the vulnerable version but guess the vamped up one was necessary to give her chance and she needs every chance she can get. It was one of the best AI moments for me. But she's up against three people who are doing well too.

Scotty was totally lost in the world of Gaga and his performance was forgettable crap.

Lauren was also scared of the woman and didn't get anyone convinced that she was Trouble.

James also failed to impress with a predictable rendition of love Potion Number Nine. I expected a lot more from him but clearly he and Lady Gaga were incompatible.

Amazingly, after that, Haley must stand a good chance of getting through after all. Lauren, despite the terrible second song, deserves a place as that first number was excellent, as was Scotty's, who simply has to be there or the whole of Texas will revolt. That leaves James. Hmmm.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Eurovision 2011

OK, I've finally managed to see all the countries' entries and, just before several get thrown out at the Semi Final stages, here's what you may or may not enjoy on the night. I guess I should start with a health warning. Some of these tracks and, indeed, my comments, could seriously damage European relations and your brain, possibly even in that order. Most of the entries, as is now traditional, are unbelievably bad but if it Ireland and Bosnia & Herzegovina make it through you will, at least, have a couple of ridiculously bad as opposed to just awful. It's an odd year with precious few precious or scary girls, old men or ugly people with gimmicks like girls appearing out of a piano but there may be a glass cube and some very strange trousers.

The betting seems to indicate that it's all over before it starts. Russia managed to organise that in 2008. This year over a third of the money placed at the time of writing is on France who don't know how to organise anything so that might mean it's a good song. It is but there are a few others. Just a few that might compete. Here are the potential top places. Videos for the most interesting available at the Eurovision 2011 page (another tab on this site). The figure is the decimal odds at Betfair at the time of writing.

France 3.25
Possibly the strongest and best singer starts really oddly but if the voters stay with it and don't go off for a pee thinking it's just a ballad then they'll realise that it is one of those anthem types that build and build and this has all the arms outstretched visual and big finish they'll love. It'll appeal to the Eastern bloc and places where they  still like real music and the oldies will vote for it too. For the three minutes of fame required it is pretty much the right formula although I have a nagging doubt about that first section.

Estonia 9.2
Second favourite but i don't know why. It's a competent number about 1273 Rockerfeller Street that's more a dance presentation with its tick tock stuff and a lot of effort in being in the right place. any song with surreal in the lyrics is worth a chance, I suppose, but it's not a winner.

United Kindom 10.5
Old Blue blew the dust off their outfits and do the honours for us. Doesn't do much for me, though. Yes, it's got the hook and they're able to sing but I worry just how the guy that does the high stuff every so often is going to deliver that without looking really silly. It just doesn't strike me as a winning song but at least we'll be up there in the top ten this year.

Hungary 16.5
This is a possible winner and certainly a top 4. Well written and some nice politics involved if Hungary win on German soil after all these years. It's one of those slightly scary women, though, with an odd shaped mouth which won't help. She'll steal some of the French votes, though, and stop them getting all the 12s from the ballad lovers.

Germany 17
The pretty Lena is back. I don't think the same person has ever won twice in a row so you could say that she either has no chance because that can't happen or she will because maybe it's time it did. Listen to this one a few times and you start to get it and whoever wrote it has done a good job. Modern, this is one of the new generation tracks that a 2011 Europe could vote for. One of a very few, if not the only one. I like it a lot but wil the voters get the two or three listens it needs?

Sweden 19
Now this chap won't get many boys voting for him as he has the type of look that they'll be jealous of and all the girls will wonder why their guys don't look and move like he does. He can sing, admittedly in a strange accent but Lena's was far worse and she managed. This is one really commercial track, the Swedes showing how good they are at this sort of thing without being silly and this will do really well. A potential winner. If he has the glass cube on stage then even more so.

Azerbaijan 19
For some reason everybody always votes for Azerbaijan, maybe just to see whether the presenters can pronounce it. So far this little country has done well each year but you have to wonder whether they've not tried a bit too hard this year. There's a very worrying-looking bloke that you really don't want to look at but as the nice girl gets entangled with him quite a bit you can't avoid him. It has a touch of the Denmark 2010 entry about it but less well presented, no big key change or wind. She could win for the little country but he could just as easily lose it for them. Maybe they'll swap him before the big day.

Bosnia & Herzegovina 19
Why on earth this ridiculous collage of very strange trousers, daddy dancing, old people with jackets that are much too short and guitars that just swing around meaninglessly as they jig around some quite large ladies is so well-backed I really have no idea. You'll get a good laugh, I suppose but it is not going to win unless the voters are all forgiving Greeks who liked the late 80s.

Denmark 29

Ireland 29
Annoying. Jedward. That'll explain why I don't propose to go any further.

Russia 34
Wo-o-o. Coming to get you. Now that's a scary intro from Russia. It may even lose them some votes they can't buy off before the day. Any song with I lot my mind somewhere between your face and your perfect shape gets my attention and leaves me wondering where he eventually might have found it. This is another pretty good-looking guy who'll certainly pull in 12s from the Soviet bloc but probably not from Georgia. So it'll do well but it all goes a bit wrong about two-thirds of the way through which is just as well for those who really don't fancy a trip to Moscow in 2012.

Norway 44
We're already now out in the wilderness in terms of betting odds, so anything that wins that's not been mentioned above will make someone a huge amount of profit. This is nothing like you'd expect from Norway, the country that gave us Fairytale from a very nice lad in 2009 and stole virtually all the votes. This year there are some girls with very big teeth and hair. If the camera keeps its distance and if the lead singer hasn't got a stupid dress and actually sings in tune for the first verse then we'll get to know more about what her Grandma said and be singing Haba Haba and generally quite liking it. It's a jolly sort of number. Not a winner but up there in the top 10 at the end, I reckon.

Austria 65
I almost turned off after the first few bars but this is the second prettiest girl in the contest so I didn't. She really can sing. Impressive, and one of the few who'll put on a good show on the night. She's not going to win, though, and Austria aren't that popular any year. Except 1966 when they won.

Finland 85
Hardly anyone is backing this but I have a feeling it will do well. It's a young guy who just seems to sing as he goes, almost making it up at the time, and it's all very politically correct saving the environment Green stuff. people may like that sort of thing this year. Strange to think he's singing for the same country that gave us the Dinosaur-like Lordy a while ago and won. Great words, actually, despite the correctness. Not like me to say that but I quite admire Finland for trying this and wish them well.

Slovenia 95
Another pretty dark-haired girl. Where are all the blondes this year? The video has a wind machine seemingly positioned purely to blow her dress off which is nice in a way and that's one of the reasons I hope she makes it through to the final. She can also sing and the song isn't bad either. If she performs it well on the night then it's one of those extreme outside chances that we just love to see beat the favourites.

From here on the odds get to the sort of level where you can make enough to buy a small house with a £100 bet but I've found a few more that might surprise people on the night, assuming they actually do get there.

Belgium 740
This is one cool number, performed almost a capella by a very odd looking and not at all attractive bunch of people, who might be more successful in a 1940s bar rather than a 19-40s bar but ... but they are really professional, spot on tone and timing-wise and it's got something. It's different. maybe everyone will hate it but if you want to become a millionaire, put £1400 on this and hope.

Greece 250
A clever mix of ballad and rap but a bit out-of-date nowadays. Panned by YouTube viewers but I wouldn't write it off yet. It ends in fine style and the main guy is a good performer who may produce something extra on the night to lift his chances a bit. Not enough to do that well, though.

Belarus 260
Now, how on earth could a song titled I Love Belarus possibly win? Just imagine some countries voting for that. No way. However, maybe they won't understand the English and it is a really strong, commercial and well-performed and produced track. They've also got the best-looking girl.

Georgia 340
I'd like a tiny country to win. This is possibly the most exciting entry of the lot and I wish them luck. they show Greece how to rap and all the other rock chix how to rock. It's surprisingly good in places but I guess it still has no chance.

Armenia 280
The other little place I like to see do well. This is one of the few old-style Euro Boom Boom Chukka Chukka tracks that we need to ensure don't die. Total crap but delivered in fine style and I'll look forward to it starting. And ending. We need Terry Wogan back, though, for the best effect.

That's about it. The others? Well, for what they're worth, which isn't much, here endeth the review:

Albania 730
Feel the passion? No. too frightened by her.

Bulgaria 720
Rock chix that aren't really rocking. More like a rocking chair.

Slovakia 220
Blondish twins. Vaguely Corrs-like without the Corr. Slow start. Will it build? No. Weird video.

Switzerland 600

Netherlands 600

Spain 730

Serbia 400
1970 gone wrong

Romania 260
Commercial but 90s. Had enough after the first half. Hope I didn't miss anything.

Malta 830
Oh dear. Wrong guy. Wrong song.

Lithuania 540
Trying to be an anthem but she can't reach the high notes. All much too serious and odd-looking.

Latvia 270
Angels in disguise? No. Ear pain.

Israel 260
Ding bloody dong??!! Please. Someone dug up Dana. The nostrils are unnerving.

Italy 80
Eh? Why did they decide to join if this is all they can do. Where's the bunga bunga? Don't they realise this is Eurovision?

Cyprus 1000
Goes neither here nor there. Nor will they.

Croatia 1000
I don't feel like calibrating, especially after that. Or celebrating. Yuck.

If I've missed any country out, sorry. They must be even worse.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

American Idol Top 4 revealed. Thanks, Jimmy.

Someone needs to give the judges a bit of feedback. In fact they might as well just come on and entertain us for a while and then go away and let someone else do the actual comments. There is someone much better. One guy behind the scenes has been spot on throughout this show and that's the one who helps them choose the tracks and who we see briefly with some star mentor each week. I think he's called Jimmy Iovine . We saw him slate Jacob and he was the only one who said that Lauren could well get voted off after wrecking the Righteous Brothers track that's almost a world anthem now. [Well, I did too and so did Brittany Keener who tweets throughout the show almost exactly what I want to say but we don't count.]

Jacob and Lauren were deservedly the bottom two and the right one went - at last. Lauren seemed to have got quite a shock at the near miss and Haley finally obviously beating her in the female popularity stakes must have made her question quite why Steven Tyler has been raving about her week after week. Maybe not the singing. She's been second to Scotty almost since the start. In fact, for a while she was the favourite. I have a feeling she'll come out fighting next week now and the last few shows are going to be really tough to call.

So good to see Haley getting genuine respect. I'd like to see her win. It's abundantly obvious that Scotty will have a contract for a Country career - it's probably already typed and waiting his signature, or his dad's as he may not be old enough. James has brought some diversity to the show but needs control to do more than lead a rock outfit in future years as a career. Accepting that control kind of goes against all he's done so far to promote his interest in the less commercial stuff. Lauren, if she reacts well to the wake-up call, in the final two with Haley would be an entertaining final. And a nice change.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Judges 0 Haley 2 [American Idol Top 5]

It must be getting bad if I actually plead with the screen for Randy to say someone is pitchy. I'm learning to ignore the judges in this series. We really miss Simon Cowell, especially at this stage where just saying someone is in it to win it over and again is getting on my nerves. Don't they realise that already? Yes, one of these is going to win but that doesn't mean they can't give some decent feedback and criticise from time to time. Steven has been damn cool and Jennifer considerate in the past but now they're not saying much at all as if they're worried about being sued or something. The first two thirds of the show had them almost selling Scotty and James to us, excusing James and Jacob's missed notes, crap screeching and wailing and raving about how good they were. Lauren gets nods of approval and never a bad word. Haley started off being effectively written off for some reason I guess we'll find out eventually. She must have been either mad or depressed at this obvious misdirection of voters. She certainly came back at the very end fighting and I just hope and pray voters listen to that and not the losers tonight who were the judges.

Jacob should go with two lousy performances, and Lauren deserves punishing for one. James should survive, although I'm not sure why, and Scotty, of course, will. Take that as read. Haley? Definitely not but who knows after the way she was treated for the first 80 minutes?

Closer To The Edge
Not a track I recognised the name of or the group 30 Seconds to Mars. Calling out "Let me hear you scream!" at line two, 15 seconds in, was rather worrying as he then proceeded to assume that no-one in the audience would and so had to do so himself. Wailing almost, this did nothing for me and I'm not sure it did a great deal for him. He has settled well after maybe trying too hard at the beginning and his ability, most of the time, to hit notes spot on and put a whole load of natural energy into performances that are not commercial puff is credit-worthy. After two minutes, though, I've had enough and I do feel that only some determined head bangers will buy the albums if he sticks with the screaming.

Something else I didn't know
Instead of James' screeching we get Jacob's wailing. Shame. This was a good track that could have suited him but he was all over the place and certainly hasn't got "one of the best voices that have ever been on this stage"as Jennifer pronounced. Randy bravely differed, thank heavens. I really do think he has gone far enough in this show already. James could pull something different out of the bag next week and is worth keeping in the hope he does. Jacob hasn't and isn't.

I give up on naming tracks, sorry.
Great up tempo good 'ol country rock chick stuff that America will love. Suited her well and if she'd been in a final up against Scotty with that she'd even stand a chance of beating him by stealing some of his votes. She's going to be selling records, I'm sure and should be pleased with that. A big difference between her and the first two.

Nice to see him confidently having fun with this rampage of a country track. He looked as if he was in his own show and was entertaining and even punching the air. Good stuff and that'll compete well with the Lauren country vote threat.

You and I
Great unknown Lady Gaga track that she delivered brilliantly. Brave, cool decision but why on earth does Jennifer have to spend all the feedback time telling us all, never mind the poor girl, about the choice instead of prasising her courage and actually saying that she hit all the notes and had a stage presence and audience rapport that knocked anything Jacob could do into a cocked hat or stripey blazer. Randy then whinges meaninglessly and misses the point, seemingly advising after the event what she should have done instead of doing what he did with the others and looking at what she did do. Steven did the usual. You do get the impression that they simply aren't prepared, despite seeing all the rehearsals, presumably, to back her against Scotty and James who them are forever pushing up the ladder as potential finalists when it should be her, Scotty and one other, probably Lauren.

Without You
This is one good song choice for this guy. A tough one, mind, and he resorted yet again to the scream and, remarkably, missed the important note that might have made all the difference. It seemed to go down well but you have to ask just who he appeals to as that would have been a hate song for the others backing his first song. Randy's 'emotionally perfect' comment is weird, especially from him. And saying the contest is 'his to lose' is worrying. The amount of advertising he's getting from those judges makes me wonder if Coca Cola aren't sponsoring him and James'll be wearing that shade of red next week. It was good at the start but I felt he showed immaturity and pretentious emotion in the second half. Not that good at all as a performance.

Love Hurts
One fine track from the Everley Brothers and this is possibly where I see him being at his best. Unfortunately, the wailing still comes through and destroys it as he just can't hold himself back and at times I couldn't tell the difference between him and the trumpet backing him. Annoying wreck of a marvellous song. Cheryl Crow had demonstrated how it should have been done and got more passion in one line that this bloke did in two and a half minutes. The ruddy judges forgive him, like James, for crap. Why on earth don't they do that for Haley?

Unchained Melody
Oh dear. That was dreadful. But will anyone say so? Really not good, no hope of reaching any of the important notes and breathless rubbish where she couldn't. Pity. She looked fantastic. Just sounded awful. How the hell could the judges not say that was 'nicely done'??!! Ridiculous! 'Nothing to judge??' What is happening on this show tonight? I would say that that performance could have upset so any viewers that she should be out. The thing is, though, people don't vote that way. She'll be lucky to survive, though, and probably knows it.

Always On my Mind
Excellent. Now that's a performance that I thought would deserve some praise. Not fantastic, though, and shows that he is not infallible as it lacked all that this very special song should have by way of meaning. I guess he's a bit young to understand that, though. It's an older man's song. Judges comments: well-rounded, so beautiful, true performer, blah blah blah. Yes, the guy's going to do well but that wasn't one of his best performances. Someone really should tell him. Oh, I just have.

The House of The Rising Sun
Amazing. Brilliant. Well done. Cut ridiculously short and I would have loved to hear the whole thing but she absolutely blew everyone else away tonight. I have already forgotten most of the others now. That was an Adam Lambert moment.

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