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My back hurts, I'm really busy, I can't sleep, my neighbor is playing "You Keep Me Hanging On" over and over, and politics has me bummed the fuck out, but at least I finally got around to watching American Idol!

Ryan Toothpaste starts out this show -- which is a guy's night with a 1980s theme -- joking about all the terrible fashions 'we' wore in the 1980s. First of all, Mr. Striped Shirt with a Popped Collar, I don't think you have any right to criticize other people's fashion choices. Also, you were 16 when the 1980s ended, so don't front like you were all Members Only jacketing it.


LUKE MENARD, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go". This guy doesn't have a bad voice, really, but how is it possible to make a song by Wham! sound even wimpier than the original? I don't know, but he pulls it off. Also, when you sing about how you wanna hit that high, try to actually hit the high. Simon looks bored with doing the show and is being a lot more blunt with everyone, coming right out and (correctly) saying that Luke isn't going to win, so why even bother?

DAVID ARCHULETA, "Another Day in Paradise". Is this the kid with the fucked-up throat or is that kid gone already? Regardless, I like his voice -- it's strong and versatile. I understand that he tore it up with "Imagine" last week, but I missed it. I hate the song, but the performance carries it -- unfortunately, he doesn't have much in the way of personality, so I doubt he's going to last into the final rounds. Paula seems drunker than usual tonight; she's slurring like crazy and can't come to a point.

DANNY NORIEGA, "Tainted Love". Danny is this year's Sanjaya, I'm guessing. Here's the thing about Danny: he is the gayest person who ever lived. He is gayer than a hundred gays dipped in an industrial gayening agent. He is gayer than anyone has any call to be. He actually says the following words: "I turned as red as a cute little tomato." Sorry, Danny Norieaga, you are too gay to live among us. Go, chase that rainbow back to your homeworld. Happily, Simon despises this hapless caricature, so he won't last too long.

DAVID HERNANDEZ, "It's All Coming Back to Me Now". This is the stripper, right? Tonight's get-to-know-the-contestants question involves their most embarrassing moments, and strangely, his doesn't involve having a five-dollar bill stuffed in his banana sling by an overweight 40-year-old woman. He hits some good heights at the end, but he's not overwhelming me; I think he's probably got a better voice than this song indicates. I think I need to hear more of him to really make up my mind.

MICHAEL JOHNS, "Don't You (Forget About Me)". This is the Australian expat from Fuckhead, and he's really charismatic with an okay voice, but here's what I like about him: he seems to have an actual strategy. He knows he's probably not going to win, so he's performing the way he would if he had a record deal -- in other words, he's not singing for the judges, he's singing for the record company executives. Clever! He's a good performer, too, which compensates for the fact that he doesn't have the strongest voice.

DAVID COOK, "Hello". The judges (even Simon) go gaga over his stripped-down electric guitar arrangement of the song, but no force on Earth can make that thing not suck. That said, especially compared to the dull crop of 2007, the guys are pretty decent this year, and I like this guy okay. I'm glad he got rid of his wingnut face mullet, and he's got pretty good vocal chops, although not all the showmanship in the world. All the white dudes on the show, in fact, sound kinda like Ryan Adams clones, but I guess there are worse things to be.

JASON CASTRO, "Hallelujah". Everybody loves this guy, and even Simon is praising him to the high heavens. I guess he's pretty good; he's got a quietly strong voice and an interesting feel for his material. But I have an instant and somewhat irrational dislike of the dirty hippie stoner kid, possibly because of my longstanding hatred of white guys with dreadlocks. I should probably like him more than I do because he's not all samey like the guys were last year. He seems to be this season's choice as the contestant Paula most wants to do.

CHIKEZIE, "She Fills Me Up". Annoying: the single name. Endearing: his comprehensively geeky knowledge of the song. He's the only black guy on the show, and given my longstanding love of the soul belter types, you would think I would like Chikezie better, but I don't. He's got a terrific voice, no doubt, but that's about it; he's not a great dresser and his personality is subdued, so I don't know if he can stand out against all the quirky white guys even though he's a better singer. No staying power for this guy, I predict.

MY PREDICTION: Luke Menard bites the dust.


Mar. 5th, 2008 05:47 am (UTC)
Leonard, two people have to go and Luke Menard is the easy choice! Who is your second pick? I think Danny sticks around since he's the Vote for the Worst choice.
Mar. 5th, 2008 05:57 am (UTC)
But is it two guys who have to go, or just two people? I thought it was two total from the combo of tonight and tomorrow's shows.

If it is indeed two guys (which would be, what, four people total this week? that can't be right, can it?), my second pick would be David Hernandez.
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Mar. 5th, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
I just don't like any of 'em except Chikezie. And if I have to go another week watching that chinless piece of shit David Cook, I'm going to eat a bullet.

Going home: Banana-Hammock Hernandez, Dog Yelp Menard.
Mar. 5th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC)
Chikezie distresses me because no black man should be dressing like Ryan Seacrest.
Mar. 5th, 2008 06:45 am (UTC)
Hernandez stripped for dudes, Leonard. And the powers that be, god bless them, said eat it, he's staying. Until you vote him off, which we are good and sure of, not like that other time when fatty fatty Frenchie was exposed for showing her ta-ta's on a website.

Is Randy Jackson trying to deny his age by acting like he thought INXS recorded "Don't You Forget About Me?"

They are all in the tank for Archuleta, he is going to take it if Simon has to come to your house and dial the number for you.

Danny Noriega is going to out Ryan Seacrest any minute and for that I say godspeed, gayest little gayboy who ever looked like Jessica Alba doing her Ellen Page impression.
Mar. 5th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC)
You think they're all marking out for Archuleta? Simon seemed a lot more critical of him than he did Jason Castro.

The fact that Hernandez was a male stripper for other men suggests the possibility that as we speak, someone somewhere is writing David/Danny slashfic. Speaking of most embarrassing moments.
Mar. 5th, 2008 10:39 am (UTC)
But nobody yet tackling You Keep Me Hangin' On?
Mar. 5th, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
Not even my neighbor. I would say, rather, that it's tackling him. And then kicking him in the face while he's down.
Mar. 5th, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
I think Chikezie only goes by one name because his full name is Chikezie Ezie and, as the judges showed us in the audition round, they think that's weird and overly complicated. Lord knows why. Anyway, I could be wrong, but I don't think it's his choice.

I love Danny Noriega hardcore, but that's predictable.
Mar. 5th, 2008 01:26 pm (UTC)
Man, really? I mean, I won't deny that there may be some vestiges of homophobia in my immediate dislike of the kid, but...he's just a living stereotype. Obviously I can't reckon how gay people would react to him, but that "oh I'm such a cute helpless sly little twink" routine, to me it reads the same as a black guy clowning like Stepin Fetchit. He's just so over the top in aping this caricature of an effeminate gay man that it drives me crazy. In fact, I'd bet cash money that he doesn't actually have sex with men. He's actually too gay to have sex with men because he's too busy dying his hair purple and practicing his catty comments and figuring out what kind of adorable vegetable to compare himself to next.

Edited at 2008-03-05 01:28 pm (UTC)
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Mar. 5th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
Huh, so I went to YouTube to check out this Castro guy's performance of Hallelujah and, uh ... so, the judges liked it? Really? With all the aspirating and puffing into the mic and dropping the ends of his lines because his breath control is such shit?

I have an instant dislike for him because his version of Hallelujah is kind of irritating. Also because his "embarrassing moment" interview in which he began "My most embarrassing moment was, I was on a date ... uh, with a girl ..."

Ah yes, thank you, guy with dreadlocks.
Mar. 5th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
No, no, you see, that's not shitty breath control. That's the Ryan Adams/Pete Yorn "I am far too sensitive and emotional to finish singing this passage" style. It's all the rage these days.
Mar. 5th, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
My favorite part was when Randy was praising Michael Johns' "Aussie Boy Goes Home" performance, and favorably likening him to Michael Hutchence. I was waiting for someone to whisper in his ear: "Psst! That was not an INXS song."

Given Simon's demonstrable knowledge of contemporary pop music, though, I can't say I'm surprised.
Mar. 5th, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
I was oddly charmed at Simon's story of running into Lionel Richie at Whole Foods. Although not as much as I would have been if it had been about running into Lionel Richie with a snowplow.
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Mar. 5th, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)
I will eat my hat if the striped hair chick doesn't go for "Total Eclipse of the Heart" tonight.
Mar. 6th, 2008 04:41 am (UTC)
Mmmm, yummy hat!
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Mar. 5th, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
I just need to give up and write my own post
I think little David Archuleta's going to win it, or at least come close. I, personally, am in love with him in a totally non-sexual way. He really nailed "Imagine," which is one of the riskiest song choices ever, and he's so humble and awkward and cute! Plus, I like the tone of his voice a lot.

The thing about Danny "I'm a gay homo!" Noriega is that he actually can sing. At least, in the auditions and Hollywood week, he was really good and soulful. But since the voting started he's seemed much more concerned about his dancing and his horrendous skinny jeans. I like how even tho he's the mayor of gaytown nobody can actually SAY this, but essentially everything everyone says about him (how he's "colorful" and "true to himself") refers to his gayness.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who automatically loathes white guys with dreads. Also, that version of "Hallelujah" sucked. I mean, I thought it was pretty meh in and of itself (he was way ahead of the guitar? but no one commented about that so was it intentional?) and the fact that Jeff Buckley has already recorded THE GREATEST VERSION OF THIS SONG THAT WILL EVER EXIST just made it worse. I didn't feel like he was being vulnerable -- it seemed v. contrived. Like his damn hair.
Mar. 6th, 2008 04:42 am (UTC)
Re: I just need to give up and write my own post
Yeah, thinking back on it, Archuleta is pretty okay. And you're totally right about how they dance around how all-consumingly gay Danny Noriega is. It would be awesome if it turned out he was the grandson of Manuel Noriega.
Mar. 6th, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)
Hi Leonard - loved the recap.

Luke Menard - belongs to an acapella group. That has a website.

So he's got that going for him.
Mar. 6th, 2008 04:43 am (UTC)
Boy, that's aiming pretty low, if what you have to fall back on is being in an a capella group.
Mar. 6th, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
I'm so glad the recaps are back! I started watching AI because of these recaps!!!

David Hernandez is my favorite guy, he has the best voice out of all of them.

I liked David Cook's "hello".

David Archuleta is a fan favorite so far. People are predicting him being the winner already.

I couldn't help but notice you insulted Chikezie's name in your recent girl post. Leonard!! It's Nigerian! You are culturally insensitive. (I love Chikezie but he rocks the cabaret/Luther thing a little too hard.)
Mar. 6th, 2008 04:44 am (UTC)
I'm afraid David "Banana Slingz" Hernandez is done after this week.

I will continue to be culturally insensitive to the Nigerians as long as they keep sending me spam e-mails.