The Husband:

Are you excited for tonight? I know I am. While I would have definitely preferred an Adam-Allison finale, I think Kris is not only a talented contestant, but he is also a valid threat to an Adam Lambert win. This is definitely strange coming from me, the person who, when Kris somehow came out of frickin’ nowhere only to easily win his round in the semi-finals, prompting me to get pissed that he was only voted through over more worthy contestants because of his cuteness factor. Describing him as “bland but cute,” I said the following:

“I’m not as mad at the final selection [as] I was Thursday night, but I still think that both Kris Allen from this week and Michael Sarver from week 1 should not be in the Top 12.”

And yet, here we are, and I have nothing but respect for the man. He’s shaken up the competition in a way almost entirely heretofore unprecedented on Idol (save for the vastly less talented but interesting Blake Lewis) by being an incredible builder of songs, performances and themes first and being a singer second. It feels strange to put him on a pedestal over Danny Gokey, who I will always admit had a good voice, but just wasn’t cutting it for me.

It was the end of the line for Gokey, for sure. Yes, he sang “You Are So Beautiful” quite well, but it was a cheap song choice. I thought it was a cheap song choice when Taylor Hicks did it, and I was a big fan of the Silver Fox, so don’t think that I’m just being hard on Gokey. Going back on my notes, I realize I was actually fairly sick of Gokey by the time semifinals rolled around, that he hadn’t risen above his sob story to be a performer, and week after week, I became less and less interested in his growl. While people may say that Lambert screams all of his songs (which isn’t true if you actually watched all of his damn performances), Gokey has this ability to look pissed at everybody and everything even while singing the most beautiful of songs. And that turned me off above all else. Yes, I broke my own rule when it comes to contestant, which I call “pulling a Simon.” And yes, it’s a positive thing. It’s averting your eyes from the performance so you can simply listen, which is technically what this competition is all about. And when I pull a Simon with Gokey, he seems to work. But not nearly as much as the other two.

Adam, let’s be honest, has lost a good deal of his ability to surprise. By now, we’re expecting him to be wild, to be different, to be triumphant. But he also has this uncanny ability to take a horrible decision and make it work for him. And man, did he make two bad decisions. #1. “Play That Funky Music” on a non-disco week. #2. “Born to Be Wild.” And while his unicorn-raping version of “Ring of Fire” might have ill-advised, it definitely made him a complete character for the show. But you see, the fact that he can make something great out of something suck is a skill few have, and that’s why I want him to win. He’s that good. He makes you like Wild Cherry. And he survived the curse of performing “Feeling Good.” We’re a rapt audience for this man.

As for Kris, I still don’t think he has that great of a voice, but oh man is he interesting. While you can’t give him all the credit for basically finding other versions of assigned songs (see my response to his cover of Adele’s version of Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love” during country week saying it’s a Garth Brooks song), he started to make it work for him by being honest and being fascinating. From “Ain’t No Sunshine” onward, he’s proven what any good Idol viewers know, that this is a performance showcase, and you’d better be a helluva performer. That’s why Lil Rounds ain’t around no more. That’s why Michael Sarver isn’t around anymore. They weren’t performers. They were just singers with passable voices. But no personality.

I mean, how could you not love him just a little bit after this picture?

I mean, how could you not love him just a little bit after this picture?

And yes, Kris somehow managed to take a rap song and turn it into something quite interesting and downloadable. While covering “Heartless” as a Jason Mraz-type song doesn’t eliminate the fact that nobody has seemed to notice that the song seems to have only seven notes in the entire thing and barely jumps out of its octave. It’s not really a singer’s song. But it is one ripe for rearrangement. YouTube doesn’t seem to be working right now (or if so, it’s moving verrrrrrry slowly), otherwise I’d show you Mia Carruthers’ own performance of “Heartless” on the damned addictive MTV show Taking The Stage, just to show that maybe from a different perspective, you too might realize that the song kind of sucks no matter how good the singer is. (And yes, Mia is great. Just find any of her original songs.) My problem with the song is that, since Kanye has somehow fashioned himself as a singer, he’s been writing these nonsense pop songs that could be done by anybody. Hell, I think you could replace Kanye with Britney Spears on “Heartless,” and it’d be about the same.

My point? Kris can also rise above weird choices, and yet at the same time is defined by them. But give him a guitar and a worthy beat, and he performs the shit out of it. And that’s another thing we don’t get often enough on this show.

Adam and Kris prove that this isn’t just a karaoke competition. It’s a competition for stars, for great performers, and potentially for those who can actually alter the recording industry.

The Wife:
Does this year’s final two remind anyone of last year’s final two? We have a bona fide rocker going against someone cute, sweet and unassuming. While last year, that latter role was filled by a tiny child who best resembled a monchichi, this year it’s filled with an appealing (and married) boy next door, who, I think, is infinitely more listenable. I like Kris Allen a lot better than I did D’Archie the Monchichi, but I still need Adam Lambert to win. I think he’s much more of a showman than Kris Allen, although I would download a Kris Allen single or three, and for me, I like music and musicians that are very engaging and performative.

Vote for Adam Lambert or the terrorists win.

Vote for Adam Lambert or the terrorists win.

The soulful weight of his “Tracks of My Tears” haunted me for days, and he performed it honestly and openly. I said after that song that I would pay to see him in a revival of Jersey Boys, and that’s still true. I’d pay to see him in anything, because he understands lyrics, phrasing and performing a song. Because he’s an actor, he understands when and how much of himself to put into his songs. While Gokey had one look, Adam had many. Turning from swinging swagger to eye-ball raping edginess to straight-up rock n’roll energy whenever the song called for it. I believe that’s what you call versatility. He’s so versatile, in fact, that he can also tone it down and deliver a quieter performance with just as much passion and intensity. “Mad World”? I’ll never hear a better interpretation of a line on American Idol than when Adam Lambert pushed the “nervous” of “I went to school and I was very nervous” into a wavering falsetto, capturing the emotion and meaning of the song better than anyone. I’ll give Kris his due for his beautiful rendition of “Falling Slowly,” a song he truly seemed to understand and adore, but in the performance department, he’s no match for Lambert.

And besides, how could you not love Adam when he returned to his old theatre camp and that tiny little tot came up and asked him how he learned to sing and dance so good? Tears to my fucking eyes. I wish I could sing and dance that good, too, tiny boy.

Either finalist will make records. And they will make records that will make money. It’s really a win-win situation this year, which is an improvement over last years’ rocker vs. boy next door battle, in which one option was win and one was suck.

The Husband:

Points of contention:

Alexis Grace Going Home

Alexis shouldn’t be going home. Not one lick. Not even if she had a bad week with a bad song.

Goodbye, tiny Kristen Bell look-alike!

Goodbye, tiny Kristen Bell look-alike!

(Man, what is it with “Jolene” as a song and being such bad luck on American Idol? It put Brooke White in the bottom three of Dolly Parton week last season, and it killed Alexis Grace. Let this be a lesson.)

I think that we can all agree that Michael Sarver, for many reasons, should have gone home, not least of which was the terribly depressing bit of info we found out last night regarding his three-year-old daughter and her feeling abandoned. True, he shouldn’t drop out of the competition just for her, but it just happened to coincide with him doing a poor version of a bad song. Alexis has been great the entire season up to this point, and I even felt her wildly over-the-top performance last week was a little bundle of dynamite, but Michael…well…he’s had an entire run of mediocre performances. His “You Are Not Alone” last week? Nope. He is alone.

I understand that the judges felt like they had to save their “Judges Save” for later in the competition just so it adds up to something more substantial, but I thought Alexis’ sing-for-your-life performance had all the energy and depression that the song called for (even if it was a lousy Jeff Buckley version) and that they probably should have used it, just to get all the controversy surrounding the “save” out of the way and we can move on with this competition.

But hey, I like unpredictability. I just wish it wasn’t what brought Alexis Grace down.

That Infamous “Top Four List”

A couple days ago, there was a story floating around on the interwebs regarding an anonymous American Idol staffer who claims that the top four have already been picked, and that we’re just wasting our time until that top four finally happens. Now, I’m not going to list who the people listed were, because, and I have to point this out every year, this is legally a competition, and if there was rigging of said competition everybody involved would be in jail. Another good reason not to list the four people is that, as of last night, the fucking list has already been disproved. Because I will say one person who was on that list: Alexis Grace. If there really was a conspiracy, would the judges have let Ms. Grace go on her merry way? Quit it, conspiracy theorists. Judges may skew toward their favorites, and the two-seasons-old iTunes download stuff is meant to let the producers know who is rising or falling in popularity, but this competition is still about your votes, and nobody else’s.

Kris Allen Singing “Make You Feel My Love”

a.) It’s a Bob Dylan song, not a Garth Brooks song.

b.) Garth Brooks has covered it, but so have many other people.

c.) Kris Allen’s version was the Adele arrangement.

Okay, we all know that contestants find versions other than the original to use for the show and arrange them thusly. The problem is when the contestant gets praise for the arrangement of the song and not the original artist. And there’s a difference here. David Cook last year, who was 100% forward that his version of “Billie Jean” was the one done by Chris Cornell. In s5, when Chris Daughtry did Live’s version of “Ring of Fire,” he did not mention it on Tuesday, but Seacrest was very clear about it during that week’s results show. And this week, Adam Lambert said up front that the “Ring of Fire” he was doing – does nobody do Cash’s version? – was one he had found.

But nope, there was no mention that Kris/Ricky Minor had arranged the song just like the most recent cover of the Bob Dylan song, not on Tuesday and not on Wednesday, and Kris got praise from nearly all of the judges for the version. Yes, he sang it well, and I was quite surprised at how much I liked it, but Kris needs to come forward, even just a small online release, that he’s not the one who should be praised.

And if he doesn’t…well…my wife and I saw Adele in concert back in January, and let me tell you, she could kick that little turd’s ass up and down the block.
Speaking Of Lambert…

Wow…that was some bizarre shit there, Lambert. I would tone done the eye-rape moves, some of the falsetto, and maybe dress more appropriately for the week’s theme. But I will say this: while the performance could be judged in many different ways (and the judges were waaaaay split), it was certainly one of the most unique Idol performances ever. And that’s never a bad thing.

But this was definitely the first week I actually laughed a bit during his performance. There’s Freddie Mercury-type performing, and then there’s evil Persian warlock hypnosis.



Is Megan Joy Taking the Competition Seriously?

Between last week and this week, I think Megan Joy is throwing way more humor into her performances than necessary. Or not. I don’t know. She’s a tough one to figure out, that Corkrey-less crooner. She’s from Sandy, Utah, where Big Love takes place, and yet she has major tattooage that would most certainly point to her not being a Mormon. She’s a mother but doesn’t act like one. And she’s a contestant on this show but I don’t know if she really wants to win. I know she had the flu this week, but her rigid, goofy performance this week was so strange. It wasn’t bad, but it was strange. Well, it got worse as it went along, so much so that near the end I thought to myself that she was starting to sound like Elaine Stritch.

Maybe she’s pulling a Chris Sligh and is aware that simply being on Idol is enough to boost her career, and once she gets a spot on the tour (which, as of last night, she received), the competition doesn’t really matter.

Paula Vs. Scott MacIntyre

Paula gave Scott guff for basically relying on his piano, but I think that’s fine. He can stick with it. He just needs to pick better songs, despite the fact that I’m liking him more and more each week. The piano is part of who he is, and I know he can work better on a connection with the audience and still have the ivories in front of him.

But I also think the other judges were a little quick to judge Paula’s judgment of Scott, because they brought up this argument: what if in the future they have Elton John week, or Billy Joel week, or Ray Charles week.

Here’s the problem. American Idol has already done all three.

  • Elton John Week: s3
  • Billy Joel Week: s2
  • Ray Charles Week: s5

Suck it, judges. Come up with choices you haven’t already done, fools.

Danny And Lil’s Song Choices

Some thoughts:

  • Both had awful first half-of-a-performance. This is a fact. What the hell was going on?
  • “Jesus Take The Wheel” is a lame song
  • Carrie Underwood did the ultimate Idol version of Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” in s4, and anyone who thinks they are worthy of surpassing her had better be spectacular, which Lil wasn’t.

Randy Travis On Willy Nelson

Apparently, Randy Travis can’t get willy out of his mind. Somebody should tell his wife.

The Hypnotic Power of Matt Giraud’s Mole

It exists. Hell, it got me to throw five votes his way by the end of his performance.

The Wife:

I realized this week that my jacket theory has been completely disproven by Danny Gokey’s extremely literal interpretation of snow-and-ice infused lyrics with that parka-like arctic white jacket he donned on Tuesday night. They do not always make any outfit instantly look more put together. Sometimes, they make you look like you’re trying really hard to be Kanye.

I also realized that Lil Rounds has no idea what the fuck she actually looks like and she needs Tim Gunn’s help and fast. Here’s the thing, Lil: you are pear-shaped. Nothing is ever going to work for you if you stuff yourself into it like some kind of hot sexy sausage. Tuesday’s pink sheath was a minor improvement over last week’s tragic white pants  . . . but only from the front. From the front, the chest ruffles balanced out her hips and drew my attention toward her face . . . but then the camera panned to the back, where that dress hugged her ass so tight I do not know how she’d have been able to sit down. Having a sexy booty is nice, but jamming it into a hot pink sausage casing actually makes it less sexy. Next week, she needs to switch to A-line sihlouettes; she will look much better. She provided further evidence that she has no idea what she looks like on Wednesday night when she threw on a pair of shorts and a long green top with lots of ruffles that pooled around her hips and butt, thus making her ass look that much bigger and completely confusing the hell out of me. Girl is a fine singer, but she needs some help in the wardrobe department.

I don't even understand what's happening with this outfit or what thought process lead to putting it on this girl.

I don't even understand what's happening with this outfit or what thought process lead to putting it on this girl.

Whoever styled Megan Joy this week also did some very strange things, taking a girl that I thought was kind of a quirky rockabilly goddess and tossing her into an Uli Herzner-style maxi dress to sing . . . an old Patsy Cline number? What? What the fuck happened to last week’s red macrame dress? Even Carrie Underwood was cribbing that look, that’s how good it was! Megan should have been wearing some kind of short, fitted shirtdress with a 40’s flare, which would fit the song and what I’ve seen of her personality so far. It would also have complimented her tattoos far better. No more of this 1970s disco makeup, either. None of this look made any sense . . . except for Megan’s boobs, which came out of fucking nowhere on Tuesday night and actually were very distracting because I noticed just how large her areolae were through the sheer fabric covering those crazy knockers. (They’re like dinner plates, by the way.)

But probably the worst look of the week went to doomed Alexis Grace, who apparently has been told she looks like Dolly Parton so many times that she decided to wear something covered in a Dolly-appropriate amount of sequins. Now, I’ve said that Alexis knows how to dress for a song, and she definitely does. Her problem this week was that she completely misunderstood the point of the song. That black spangled dress was the definition of matronly, and that feeling carried into her performance of the song — a song that Brooke White did a much better job with last season when she used a guitar-only arrangement and connected with the desperation of the song’s speaker, who will never love again if that sultry green-eyed beauty takes her man just because she can. Alexis didn’t get that at all, choosing instead to create a mother-of-the-bride helmet out of her blonde crop and sang the song without any emotion or luster. Now, I may not like or even understand country music, but I do love me some Dolly Parton. And I love “Jolene.” And you do not do that to Dolly. If you do Dolly with hairspray and spangles, they better be lime green spangles and have some very tall boots and very tall hair to accompany them. Alexis would have been better off wearing the cherry skirt and country picnic top she wore with her shit-kicking boots on Wednesday night; I think that much more countrified look would have suited the song better and given Alexis a chance.

Idol is quickly becoming a sausage fest this season, and that means I’ll only get to talk about Gokey’s eyeglass obsession, Matt Giraud’s collection of leather jackets and Adam Lambert’s insistance on eye-raping me. Please, girls. I need the rest of you to stick around because we all know that women’s fashion is much more interesting than menswear.

The Husband:

I told my wife to remember to copy-and-paste BestWeekEver.TV’s description of Adam Lambert’s performance, but I guess she forgot. It’s just too good to not put here, though:

Last night, Adam Lambert took the Johnny Cash song “Ring Of Fire,” impregnated it with a unicorn, sent it to India, gave it an STD test, and read the results of that test with a sitar strumming in the background on live television.