AMERICAN IDOL: Something Old, Something New, Something Atonal, Something Awful

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I think it’s time to officially stick a fork in American Idol. I never say that about TV shows. If anything, I stick by their side way longer than I ever should (read: Gossip Girl). But Idol is the pits. And contrary to what most people are saying, it’s not the singers’ faults. Sure, we could have a better group, but to be honest, the five (now four) remaining singers are ten times better than the majority of last season’s boring bunch.

No, the real problem comes from the judges, who barely seem able to offer up any worthwhile criticism. Most people think the fun of Idol is see how the singers fare from week to week, but that is only part of the equation. It’s the rush of watching someone soar and receive glorious praise. And it’s the schadenfreude of witnessing an all-out failure, followed by soul-crushing critiques. Sure, the singing is important, but it’s the judges’ responses that keep us on the edge of our seats.

This season, however, has been a total failure for judging. Steven Tyler refers to everything as a “beautiful thing,” J-Lo encourages everyone to “push harder,” and Randy Jackson merely announces that everyone is “IN IT TO WIN IT.” Why even bother watching this show if it’s the same thing every week?

Nevertheless, here is a quick rundown of the performances this week, which had the kids singing both current tunes and “classics.”

James Durbin:
James is arguably the best showman of the group, and usually he sounds pretty good, but damn he was off on Wednesday. His first song had him missing notes left and right, and if you were like me (ie. checking Facebook and listening at the same time), you were only paying attention to his voice. Well, if this was The Voice, I don’t think any chairs would be swiveling around because James sounded like crap. And guess what? The judges LOVED him. Surprised? No.

For his second song, James gave us a heartfelt rendition of “Without You,” which is a wonderful song. Even better, James had a truly emotional moment on stage, shedding a photogenic tear just as the cameras zoomed in on him. The only problem? He sounded terrible. This was not a case of emotions causing cracked voices and clipped notes (which I love). This was a case of him not hitting ANY notes. It’s a shame because as Randy said, James was “emotionally perfect.” But he needs a little more than that.

Jacob Lusk:
This dude came out and sang “No Air,” which is one of those cheesy pop ballads that I hold nearly and dearly to my heart. You mess with “No Air,” and you mess with me. And how did Ms. Jacob fare? Well, let’s put it this way: it was semi-appropriate he chose a Chris Brown joint because he BEAT THE LIFE OUT OF THIS SONG. There were parts of the song where Jacob sounded like a jammed up vacuum cleaner. You know what I’m talking about: vrrrrreeEEEEE vrrrrreeeEEEEE. Truth be told, his follow-up of “Love Hurts” was perfectly lovely and nicely arranged, but the damage was already done. Tell me how to breathe with no air? That’s a good question for Jacob’s lungs.

Lauren Alaina
Here’s the thing with Lauren Alaina. I like her. She’s nice. She has a good voice. But her charisma is totally lacking. She gets up and sings and never makes any impression. Her first tune was a rousing Carrie Underwood song, and I thought she rocked it. Five seconds later, I had forgotten all about it. Later, she took on a strangely edited take of “Unchained Melody,” which failed to inspire. Curiously, Randy praised Lauren for showing another side to her — this on the heels of him bashing Ms. Jacob for not choosing a style and sticking to it. Is it time for X-Factor yet?

Scotty McCreery
The Alfred E. Newman of Nashville (aw, that was MEAN) once again delivered solid country material, doing a bang up job with his first song, and giving us a boring and forgettable performance with his second one. I don’t even re-membah his second song. That’s the problem with Scotty. He’s so forgettable. Every week I forget he’s on the show. Watch him become a country superstar now….

Haley Reinhart
Poor Haley. She took on an unreleased Lady Gaga song, and while she sang it, I thought a) what a cool song, b) I’d love to hear Lady Gaga go this, and c) good for Haley for taking this risk. I thought she did a solid job, and while her growls still drive me nuts, she’s way more talented than perhaps anyone left. And yet the judges didn’t like her. That’s right — the ONE time the judges part from their generic praise, it’s with Haley? This show is dead to me. DEAD.

In the end, Jacob went home. It was for the best. This nation’s cats needed to some peace.

What did you think about this week?

4 replies on “AMERICAN IDOL: Something Old, Something New, Something Atonal, Something Awful”

  1. The show has been dead to me since Pia was voted off. I’ve kept in on my DVR list and only watch the last 5 minutes or so to see who is voted off each week.

    Love the Alfred E. Newman comparison…I’ve been thinking the same thing all season!

  2. My current method of “watching” the show is: Hit erase before even watching the song day and fast forward to the end to see who gets eliminated. I have been like this since Hollywood week ended. I watched a little bit initially, got ticked off the judges provided no constructive feedback and then just started hitting erase.

  3. I no longer watch Idol myself but I read your recap because I expected you to tell us your role in this week’s episode as it sems to be your week:

    1. You were on Top Chef!!! (Winning!)

    2. You met Heidi Klum!!!

    3. You met Kathy Griffin!!

    4. Ina Garten was on 30 Rock!

    OK, maybe this would be my “Best Week Ever” (a nod to the always wonderful Michelle), not necessarily yours, but it’s possible!

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