The Husband:

I think the New York Times said it better than I ever could. (That’s why they’re the New York Times and I’m not.)


“It’s possible that American Idol viewers’ selection of Kris Allen over Adam Lambert says something about the mood and mores of the country, that viewers are too conformist to anoint a sassy, androgynous individualist. Then again, maybe not: Mr. Allen’s victory may merely reflect the voters’ conventional taste in pop music…Mr. Allen never fell out of character as the humble, earnest country boy from Arkansas.”


Oh, and besides Jordin Sparks (who is still from a Red State in the West), every single Idol winner has been from the South. It’s a hard trend to beak.

I don’t hate Kris Allen. If you’ve been following the show along with us, you know that I grew to love him. But I can’t say that I wasn’t disappointed at the outcome. But the above quote shows that there were a lot of reasons Kris won, and some are more valid than others.

A formidble set of opponents.

A formidble set of opponents.

Personally, I think it comes down to more how Adam lost than Kris won. At the beginning of the Top 12/13, I don’t think anyone thought Kris would ever beat Adam, so here are a few items of interest.

Adam became too safe of a choice:

Yes, the wildly flamboyant and sexual Adam was actually too safe of a choice, the complete opposite of what a lot of people may cry about today, that America was being homophobic. (I think that while some Kris voting may be due to this very thing, it will turn out to be a minor blip on the bigger scale.) The bigger problem, and this was way more subconscious, is that everybody assumed Adam was going to win. Simon went on Ellen and said so. Entertainment Weekly did a friggin’ cover story on him most of the way through the competition. The judges kept on praising him until it felt like the end was preordained. Everybody said the same thing. And Adam, well, he did stop surprising us right around disco week. He was consistently passionate and bombastic, a competent performer. And he was humble about it. But after a while we could already imagine the song before he sang it. Which is a great trait, but not for the attention-craving America. America wants to reward the underdog, to keep things interesting, and Adam stopped being dangerous. He stopped reaching for the “holy shit” factor.

Adam was not Danny:

Last week, we already saw that Adam had lost his considerable lead over the rest of the competition when we were told that only one million votes separated first place and second place, while the remainder was lost on a losing Danny Gokey. But where did Danny’s votes go this week? They went to the other good ol’ American boy, Kris. And that pulled Kris ahead. If we’re going by DialIdol, Kris did not beat Adam by very much, so I’m surprised that some of Danny’s votes may have actually worked their way into Adam’s number — perhaps those who liked Danny for his voice and didn’t give a shit about his story or spirituality, but at the same time were originally afraid to vote for Adam — but I’m willing to bet that the majority of them went to Kris or disappeared outright. Kris was more Danny than Adam could ever be, whatever that may mean to you.

Adam strutted too much:

Yes, I actually believe that if Adam had performed “Mad World” like he did originally, sitting down and letting the music and his spoke speak for themselves, instead of descending a staircase into way too much fake fog, he could have won. He definitely could have gotten Simon to agree that he won all three rounds on Tuesday instead of merely two, but he had to indulge in his theatricality. Which is fine. But I think it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, just like he got into the Bottom Two for performing “Feeling Good” in roughly the same way. But this is saying that his performance tactics are bad. No, they’re not. They’re fucking great. But not everybody is like me, and, for some indiscernible reason, there will still be millions of people out there who outright hate musicals and drama. (Then why are they watching television? I’ll never understand it.)

But let’s get down to the bottom of this: Adam is a much better singer than Kris will ever be. You know this to be true. He was damn near perfect. Oh, and that scream you Adam haters consistently complain about like a broken record? That is a perfect rock wail, a glorious sound you can find in all of the best rock ‘n roll music for the last 50 years. A release of sheer force, emotion and performance. All your complaints really tell me is that you don’t listen to rock music, and you wouldn’t know a good rock singer if it kicked you in the nuts and spit whiskey and glitter in your eye.

But Kris is good, and he’ll make a good album for 19 Entertainment. As I said, “his is the face that launched a thousand glittery posters taped to a teenage girl’s walls and ceiling, right next to her dolphin art.” He has a long career ahead of him.

And not to sound like I’m justifying a loss or acting like the battered wife/husband, but Adam losing might be the best thing to happen to him. As I was fine with the competition going either way (with me, of course, leaning toward an Adam win), I considered Adam’s future, and while he is still to cut an album for 19 Entertainment, he will be free of much of the Idol machine that tends to crush people. He has a better chance of making the album that he wants to make (for one, without Kara’s crappy song), he can more easily pursue acting on stage and screen if that is what he so chooses, and he can be a music star and not have to live up to or live down the label of being an American Idol, a label that often turns a lot of people off in the actual real world. And yes, I think if they make a movie version of Wicked, they’d be insane not to cast him as Fiyero. Some have said he would overdo the role. 1.) From the clips of him understudying as Fiyero, he does it just fine, thank you. 2.) If he does overdo it, it’ll definitely help define a horribly underwritten character in an overrated musical. He could potentially save the entire second half of the story.

I think that’s about it. What other stuff can I say to wrap this up?

Had Allison been in the Top 3 instead of Danny, perhaps Adam may have had a chance to grab her votes and win in the finale had she been voted out. The number of votes that would have gone to her despite her losing would have been far greater than her Top 4 votes, which in turn got Danny out in the actual Top 3.

I think Kara is a great judge and should stick around. She is the only one besides Simon who gives actual friggin’ advice to the contestants, advice that is mostly useful, instead of just being judgmental. She knows what she’s talking about, and I don’t know how that strikes most of you out there as “annoying.”

This is without much hindsight, but I think the finale was definitely one of the best they’ve ever had. And yes, they have done awards in the past. If you thought this was new, either you haven’t watched the show for too long, or you’re an idiot. But I will leave most of the finale talk to my wife. But I do have something to say to the Black Eyed Peas. If you guys really have that “future sound” and are “so 3008,” then why does your #1 hit single sound like techno music from 15 years ago?

I am, above all else, extremely grateful that the top two contestants were exciting, interesting, evocative and [mostly] original. It’s tough to get that on Idol, so despite my misgivings with the results, glad that this show can still surprise me. This was one of the best top 12/13s in the show’s history, with far more talented individuals holding on and only a few non-talented ones eking by. It’s nice to be able to pick on a singer for subtleties instead of just simply declaring that they’re bad, and sparking discussion, even on a show as cookie-cutter as this, is never bad.

And now, it’s time for So You Think You Can Dance, which is, in a lot of ways, a better overall show than American Idol. But if FOX’s decision to also create a fall version of the show right after this summer season ends up overplaying and killing the entire program, I’m going to be pissed.

The Wife:

I’m going to summarize my feelings about Adam Lambert’s strange un-victory per a text message I sent to my friend Magen last night after she had long since gone to bed over in DC:


“Fsdfhsdfgsdfshvgyugsdufh! I die. That outfit was bananas! I was clearly not mature enough to handle that fantasy duet between Adam and KISS because all I did was squee and figdet and wonder where the hell those epaulettes and those fucking boots came from. This was a great finale. KISS. Queen. Allison and Cyndi lauper. Amazing. Even though Adam didn’t win, I cannot wait to buy tickets on his first tour. He is now free to make the gayest, rockingest record ever, and no one will stop him. Glambert saved. Stevecrest out.”


As my husband mentioned above, I think Adam is better off without the Idol win, although I’d have liked him to have it because, well, I love him. He and Kris will both sell records and will both have long careers, and I can have no ill-will toward someone like Kris who is so humble that he conceded to America that he thought his competitor deserved the win more than he did. Both men are winners in my book, really. So now, let me talk about how thoroughly pleased I was with the finale, despite an outcome that didn’t actually go my way.

Idol Awards

First of all, I came late into the Idol game, having only watched since season 6, so the Idol awards were odd to me, but I actually found them pretty enjoyable over all. I never thought I’d be so happy to see Norman Gentle aka Nick Mitchell, and while I hated the idea of him being on Idol, he is funny. And weird. And I’d definitely see his cabaret show, so I’m glad to be reminded of why he’s likeable. I was not happy to see Bikini Girl, especially because she’s so tan now that she looks like she’s been living in South Florida since she was 22 and is now 60. Someone needs to give her the message that pale is the new tan . . . and someone kind of did, actually. Kara. Although I’m bothered by Kara’s pop culture solipcisms, I like her as a judge, and now I like her even more as a singer. Bikini Girl cannot sing at all by comparison and I now know that Kara also looks better in a bikini than bikini girl. She has some damn hard abs, that Kara DioGuardi. I would not be surprised if Bikini Girl has either tried to kill herself or developed an eating disorder after being upstaged by a woman in her 30s who sings better and has a nicer body than she does. As for Tatiana Del Toro . . . I do not know if that was real or not and I don’t care because watching security guards chase that crazy bitch around the stage was funny as hell!

I mean, really, Bikini Girl got nothing on this.

I mean, really, Bikini Girl got nothing on this.

Fantasy Duets!

  • I love that Allison Iraheta got to sing one of my favorite songs ever, “Time After Time,” with Cyndi Lauper. I also love that Cyndi plays the dulcimer. She just gets more amazing every damn day.
  • Kris Allen and Keith Urban are very similar in that they both have scruffy facial hair, play guitar, have a country twang and have blonde wives. I liked this duet because it proved that Kris Allen can easily transition into a country-rock artist if he ever wanted to.
  • Kris + Adam + Surviving Members of Queen = truly spectacular way to end the show. This is the point where I kind of stopped caring which one of them won because I saw that they had such an amazing camraderie while singing “We Are the Champions.” It was clear to me that these guys were having the fucking time of their lives, and that’s exactly what I want to see on Idol. Plus, I enjoyed watching Adam touch the guitarist several times during the performance, as though he couldn’t believe he was singing with fucking Queen. That’s probably what I would have done if I were singing with Cyndi Lauper.
  • But, of course, there was no greater fantasy duet (although, really, not a duet) than Adam Lambert in his King Henry VIII-from-Space outfit with the blinged out epaulettes and the giant gold platform boots he clearly borrowed from Gene Simmons’ closet singing with KISS. Magen was right; I straight up died. I mean, this performance was just the cat’s fucking pajamas for me. I had to cover half my face with a blanket because I was so excited that it was incredibly difficult to not ruin the whole performance with squeals of joy. I don’t even like KISS all that much, but Adam singing with KISS I FUCKING ADORED. I mean, this was a perfect moment for him and he performed the hell out of it, as he does with everything. If I had to pick a favorite moment from this performance, though, it would be when he delicately raised his eyebrow in innuendo when he sang the line “Me and the boys will be playing all night.” Oh, I know, honey. And I wouldn’t have you any other way.
Other performances:
  • At first, I hated the fact that the whole American Idol gang was going to sing Pink’s “So What?” as I adore Pink and never want to hear her stuff sung by anyone else, but I think this was one group number that worked really well. It had a ton of energy and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun.
  • I do not dislike Megan Joy, but she was kind of very not good in her duet with Michael Sarver over Steve Martin’s banjo music. Moreover, while I’m sure Steve was happy to be there, I don’t think he was happy to hear “Pretty Flowers” sung the way those two completely oversang it. My fantasy duet for that song? Dolly Parton and Anoop Desai.
  • Speaking of Anoop, I loved that he and Alexis Grace got to do Jason Mraz right by singing the intro solos to “I’m Yours.” That said, this group performance of the song with Mraz was way better than when one third of the Top 36 tried to sing it back when there was a Top 36.
  • Lil Rounds and Queen Latifah? Strangely disappointing. Although I should note that during this number, I sang a bit of “When You’re Good to Mama” from Chicago to my cat. And I changed the words to be about my cat. That’s how uninteresting this number was.
  • The minute Fergie came on, I screamed, “SING ‘BE ITALIAN’!” because she’s playing Sereghina the Whore in Rob Marshall’s adaptation of Nine and I all kinds of love her super minor-keyed version of a song that, in the stage show, is very bright and somehow not about molestation at all. Here’s the Nine trailer, so you can hear it and be just as excited as I am:
  • But once the Black Eyed Peas came on, I became very frightened of their strange cybertronic zebra dancers. Why were they putting their feet in will.i.am’s crotch? Not okay! (I bet that was choreographed by Shane Sparks, though.)
Fashion notes!
  • I’ve already talked about Adam’s KISS outfit, but in case you didn’t catch it, I fucking loved it. I die. I channel Rachel Zoe and I die.
  • Alexis Grace got to wear two pairs of very sexy over-the-knee boots. She is one hot mama.
  • Another hot mama? Adam Lambert’s mom, who gets a million extra cuteness points for wearing armwarmers!
  • I was very embarassed for Megan Joy’s pink hot shorts during “Glamorous.”
  • Oh, Lil Rounds. No one knows how to dress you. That top with the strange leaf-like skirt just accentuated your huge booty, and not in a good way. I do not understand why everyone is just a step away from making you into Josephine Baker, as you’ll never, ever be as good of a performer as she was.
  • Allison looked amazing tonight. Staight up.
  • I like that Anoop went for a seersucker jacket as if to say, “I’m from the South and you will all deal with my desire to drink sweet tea from a mason jar, bitches! Get me a fucking mint julep!”
  • Janice Dickinson was totally trashed throughout this whole show, or at least she looked that way.
  • I want my legs to be as shiny and toned as Fergie’s.
  • Matt Giraud looked his best during his Santana number. I think Abuelito shirts are really a good look for him, and they work with his obsession with cubano fedoras.
  • It was very bold of Rod Stewart to pair the Coach leather that is his skin with that faux Burbury jacket.
All of that stuff ads up to a wonderful two hours of television. I’ve been saying it all season, but I’ll reiterate: I can’t wait to see Adam Lambert on Broadway someday. If Constantine Maroulis can get nominated for a Tony for Rock of Ages (and let me say that I saw him in Rent pre-Idol, and while I thought he was the most Roger-looking Roger I’ve ever seen, he certainly wasn’t the best), surely Adam Lambert will one day win one. I will see him in anything. I will follow his ass around the country like my mother-in-law does with Clay Aiken because while he may not be the American Idol, he is my American Idol.


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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:

Wrong.

Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong…

Why, America, why? All she wanted to do was be there for you so you could cry, cry, baby. Why do you hate her so?

Why, America, why? All she wanted to do was be there for you so you could cry, cry, baby. Why do you hate her so?

Man, that was the first elimination this season to really upset me. It usually doesn’t take this long. And I just don’t get it.

Well, okay, I do kind of get it. Allison makes people uneasy. I’m not sure why. She has an incredible voice, an incredible stage presence and a clear career path that I think would outshine all but two American Idol winners so far. (Yeah, those two.)

And goddamn it, I hope above all hopes (been saying that phrase a lot recently) that her ousting has nothing to do with the “revelation” that she had previously won a television singing contest on Telemundo. I wish it had nothing to do with it because IT DOESN’T have anything to do with it. It is not against the rules of the show, nor has it ever been. If anything, it tells me that I’m voting for the right person, someone who has taken their licks and their laurels and made it work for them. Nowhere does it say that this is a contest for amateurs only, because then you get the last three seasons of Hell’s Kitchen.

And, honestly, most of these contestants over the years have some form of a career behind them. Almost all of them, in fact. But if I brought those up to you, that, say, one of the contestants in the top three has already cut an album, you would just shrug it off. Because when it all comes down to it, people are just looking for ways to justify their dislike of a certain contestant. But if they’re in the Top 12, they have gone through a background check from the highest of authorities (the television gods), so that should be enough for you.

But I’m hoping that people were just too intimidated by Allison Iraheta to vote for her, and that it had nothing to do with her “past.” Because that would be stupid.

As for Danny, you’re fucking dead to me, and so are your fans. You’ve had two, maybe three great performances on the show, far less than Allison, and Tuesday night you were not only awful, but you completely misunderstood rock music. It’s not your genre, you say? Yes it is. Because what you think is rock seems to actually be hard rock. You know what also counts as rock but isn’t hard rock? Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Fastball, Everclear, Beck, No Doubt, David Bowie, The Cars, R.E.M., Elvis Costello, The Killers, Death Cab For Cutie, the motherfucking Monkees. Fucking dozens of other subgenres. Those can be your sound because they are your sound. But no, you had to choose an Aerosmith song that did in Michael Johns last year (COSC Kibosh is in effect, by the way), and you embarrassed yourself with your song choice and your ignorance of the genre. That’s not my American Idol.

Oh well, fans. You just paved the way for Adam Lambert to win it all. I was actually hoping for some competition, because unless Kris Allen pulls something spectacular out of his hat next week, it’s almost a foregone conclusion.

The Wife:

Allison Iraheta, you deserved a spot in the final three, and I don’t know why America doesn’t like you, because I like you, and I’m sad to see you go. Surely, I thought Kara DioGuardi had given you (and Lambert) her seal of approval by sporting geode jewelry in homage to the big red geode you wore around your neck on Tuesday night, but apparently, Kara cribbing your fashion sense doesn’t get you into the Top 3.

And by the way, if you compare her farewell performance of Janis Joplin’s “Cry Baby” to her winning performance on that Telemundo singing show (which you can check out below), you can see just how much Allison has improved in the two years since she won that contest (where they tarted her up in a sparkly halter like a baby Selena as she totally murdered “Total Eclipse of the Heart”). She has grown up a lot, and performs with a control and stage presence not seen in most girls her age. That farewell performance was a triumphant “Fuck You” to America, and that tiny dynamo made me cry a little bit.


As for you, Danny Gokey, I’ve got a video for you, too! America, how fucking dare you vote this lame-ass motherfucker, who had the stupidity and audacity to wear a shiny polyester shirt and a pinstripe vest on rock night, like he was a pimp in a 70s exploitation film, into your Top 3. Kara may not know anything about the timeline of the work of such a rock stalwart as Aerosmith, but you know nothing about rock and roll. Or about hitting notes. Your scream at the end of that song was almost as horrible as the sound made by the angriest cat in the world, Burger and Fries.

Oh, wait, that’s just your scream laid over an image of Burger and Fries. Apparently, America doesn’t have eardrums because they, for some reason, voted that through instead of lovely, polished, rock wunderkind Allison Iraheta.

I would, however, like to take a moment to revel in the glory of Allison and Adam’s performance of Foghat’s “Slow Ride,” and not just because Adam wore such tight stripey pants that all I did was stare at his junk for the duration of the song, but because that shit is what rock is all about.

Well, that and Gwen Stefani doing push ups in the middle of her set. Which is so fucking hardcore. I can’t believe her. She’s amazing and here’s where I go squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! because I have tickets to the No Doubt tour this summer! I kind of want Gwen to get into a fierce-off with Lady Gaga. I don’t know what a fierce-off would entail, but it would be fantastic to watch, whatever it is.

No Doubt tangent aside, I’m clearly rooting for Adam Lambert for the win. America needs an androgynous glam rock god right now. And I hope we get one.


The Husband:

And the changes keep coming. Presumably due to the added fourth judge and the fact that the show has finally acknowledged its problem with running over their allotted time (earlier, anything they said always seemed to translate to “Fuck the Fox affiliates and their local news,” which is entirely understandable), this is the first time I can remember the Top 5 not getting to sing two songs. Considering how great Tuesday’s show was – all five were either reallllly good or great – it would have been nice to see twice and much awesomeness from them as well, but it’s also understandable that the sheer amount of talent that was on display was a direct benefit of only having to work with one song. Would Allison’s incredible (yes, incredible) performance of “Someone to Watch Over Me” been merely okay if she had done, say, “My Way” later on in the show? Would Adam have suffered just like Clay in season 2 during the Robin Gibb week, where he dropped Simon’s mouth with his performance of “To Love Somebody,” only to embarrass himself with “Grease” (as in “is the word”) less than an hour later? (And yes, I know that was a Top 4 performance, and Top 5 was Neil Sedaka week, but the principle is the same.)

On another note, I’m starting to understand all the love for Kris Allen. No, I don’t want him to win, but I’m finally getting that his performance style is pretty damn spot-on for those who, say, listen to Alice Radio here in the Bay Area. He’s easy-going and confident even when the song is difficult, and his is the face that launched a thousand glittery posters taped to a teenage girl’s walls and ceiling, right next to her dolphin art. I still don’t think I could simply listen to an album of his just yet, but this late in the competition, he is oddly growing on me. I guess the turning point was “Falling Slowly” two weeks ago.

Feeling a little awkward about this suit choice, actually.

Feeling a little awkward about this suit choice, actually.

And no, I wasn’t entirely surprised about Adam being sent to the bottom two. Okay, I thought he was great as usual, but it’s time for me to pull a Children Of Saint Clare Kibosh on “Feelin’ Good.” Yes, it’s a great song, so it’s not like I’m putting the COSC Kibosh on it because it’s entirely overused on the show. My thing is that it seems to be the American Idol song of death. I remember it being performed at least three times before, all in the semifinals, and not once did any of the contestants who used that song advance to the next round or the finals. Hell, I think in season 4 (the first one with a “guy night,” a “girl night” and a results show all in the same week), two people sang it within a day of each other, and both bit the dust. Something about it just rubs people the wrong way. I guess because it sounds angrier than it really is. Or the imagery is a little too strange. (It does, after all, demand that we share feelings with blossoms, dragonflies, reeds and pine scent.) Maybe I should just eliminate any song that could potentially be covered by the band Muse. America doesn’t really get prog rock. (Hell, I don’t half the time.)

And yes, Allison’s performance was the first of the year to move me to tears. This is the performance people have been waiting for, even if that person isn’t Simon. I don’t understand why he thinks that she lacks confidence, because damn, that girl is a performer. Maybe he’s just thrown off by the fact that she’s a minor and/or isn’t dressing like a hussy.

And sorry, Jamie Foxx, you may be an Oscar winner and all Zen now, but you can’t fool me. You will always be Wanda.

The Wife:

There’s a lot of talk from Simon about Allison’s “likability” or her perceived lack thereof. If only Simey read the interwebs and knew how much we all did, in fact, like her. I think her excellent performance this week and her garnering a Silver Stool of Safety were aided by one additional detail: the reveal of a softer, yet still totally Allison, look.

Happy Birthday! You look fabulous!

Happy Birthday! You look fabulous!

That multi-tiered black and white skirt paired with the black bustier? That was exactly what Allison needed for people to see her as serious. She looked appropriate for her age, and for the music of the Big Band era without being too literal or kitschy (say, by picking up a cherry print halter dress from Hot Topic that I totally used to have and coveted and loved the shit out of back when I was a 16-year-old Goth). She was the whole fucking package on Tuesday, from the new black streaks in her pink mane to the thick black straps of her sandals, and she was imminently likeable.

Good job, girlfriend. You fuckin’ earned that Silver Stool of Safety.

And, actually, so did Gokey, who for the first time in this competition actually sounded like more than just a fun wedding singer. Though I’d still like to see him go next week and have a Kris-Adam-Allison final three. That’d be sa-wheet.

I can’t say much about men in suits, but I wonder if it wasn’t Adam’s shiny, shiny white suit paired with the song my husband has just put the offical kibosh of this here blog on that did him in? How can you wear a white suit and not look like an asshole? I think grey or sand are the lightest colors you can safely enter into on the suit spectrum before people start writing you off as a complete douchebag. That said, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the suit in context with the performance. I can stand by a white suit in that context. And I can stand by Adam Lambert, even if he’s only wearing a loincloth. In fact, especially if he’s only wearing a loincloth:

The Husband:

The Judges’ Save had to be used this week. Pretty much guaranteed. Had it waited until next week, they would have been forced to use it just to prove that it wasn’t a worthless threat. Not only that, then they would have had to save somebody from Disco Week, which will in my foresight probably be kryptonite to at least half of the contestants. (All 3.5 of them.)

Here, it was to save a rather talented performer, one who has continued to surprise, going for a very bad song selection. And as a result, I must now reintroduce the Children Of Saint Clare Kibosh on both the Bryan Adams songs used this week. Sorry “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” from Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. It’s just too easy of a choice, and even delivering a rather heartfelt and unique rendition of it, as Anoop did this week, could still get your ass in the bottom three. And, of course, the craptacular “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?” from Don Juan DeMarco also gets the COSC Kibosh, as it’s a piece of shit that was somehow nominated for an Oscar, and even somebody like Chris Daughtry back in s5 (you know, the guy who proved that ending up in fourth place can still make you a megastar) couldn’t do a good job no matter how hard they tried.

Thank you for not sending me back to that dueling piano bar where I work!

Thank you for not sending me back to that dueling piano bar where I work!

(I pointed out to my wife that the song from Don Juan DeMarco was so bad, it lost the Best Original Song Oscar to Pocahontas’ “Colors of the Wind,” but I had forgotten that, in the same year, Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got A Friend” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Dead Man Walking” were also in contention, and either would have been superior choices for the award. But why Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Eddie Vedder’s better Dead Man Walking song, “The Face of Love,” wasn’t nominated in Springsteen’s place is a reason I really hate the Oscar category some of the time. It’s all political, bitches.)

This COSC Kibosh, however, does not completely eliminate Bryan Adams from the competition. I still think “Heaven” and “Summer of ‘69” could be worthy additions to the Idol repertoire (or has “Heaven” already been done once?), as they are better and less sappy songs.

As for the rest of the folks, Kris Allen made the smartest decision to go with “Falling Slowly” from Once, a glorious song well-suited to his talents. (I’ll let my wife talk about the ‘net’s reaction to choosing this song.) But, honestly, you know who could have done it better? I hate to say it, but Danny Gokey. He would have nailed it. But, as usual, Gokey is a lazy song selector, and no matter how well he may croon a Lionel Ritchie schmaltz fest, his laziness will always bother me. And yes, I do think it matters, because that means if he wins Idol and makes the 19 Entertainment record, he won’t have any discerning tastes and will end up with a piece of shit album. This stuff matters, people.

His mind's made up.

His mind's made up.

I actually have to give Lil Rounds some credit for reaching into the Bette Midler handbag and pulling out the gorgeous “The Rose,” because it told me that she was finally thinking outside the box. Maybe she wasn’t as lazy of a song selector as, say, Lakisha back in s6. But she couldn’t figure out how to transfer it to her own skills despite a half-assed attempt at “churching” it up. And her post-critique attitude was completely uncalled for, as she has seemed to completely misunderstood the difference between musician and artist that Simon brought up last week. Lil, he wasn’t telling you to pick a different kind of song; he was telling you to be your own performer no matter what the song, instead of a well-voiced karaoke performer. Don’t get mad at him because you fucked up. You can pick any song in the world, but if you’re not making an individual impression and creating your own persona, you’re nothing.

As for this week’s decision to split up the judges’ panel into two groups of two, and yet still managed to run over into Fringe, I think it was an okay idea executed poorly. But me? I have a solution. It’s called A COUNTDOWN CLOCK! Give each judge a gigantic red sign that counts down from, say, 25 seconds to zero, and when it hits that big “0,” shut your mouth. Secondly, tell Paula and Simon to stop interrupting each other, because not only is it a waste of time, it’s disrespectful to the contestants. Both are equally guilty of this crime. Third, tell the judges to ignore the audience. No matter how loud they may get, we can still hear every word the judges say on the microphones, because they are DIRECTIONAL MICROPHONES. The sound of their voice is what’s being picked up the highest, because it’s right in front of their fucking mouths. If the crowd stars booing, don’t hesitate, don’t talk back and don’t worry. They’re just people who waited in line for six hours in the crappy Los Angeles sun and have zero clue what they’re talking about.

Except for the Observer. He knows what’s up.

And yes, the song choices were mostly kind of balls across the board. I know that Idol only has a short list of what songs can actually be selected, but these are a few songs, for example, that would have been better. And these are just the songs that won Oscars. This isn’t even counting the many worthy nominations in the category in years past. (Shit, like 1999’s “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story II or Aimee Mann’s “Save Me” from Magnolia, which both lost to [shudder] Phil Collins.)

(Thanks be to Wikipedia for this list.)

  • “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (Lil could have turned into a jazz queen with this)
  • “Flashdance…What a Feeling” (you know, the good song from that movie)
  • “I’m Easy” (even Megan Joy could have done well with this had she been around)
  • “Into The West” (I actually would have loved to see Gokey go against type and do this Annie Lennox song. It would have been made of actual emotion and not just whatever it is that he gives us every week)
  • “Streets Of Philadelphia” (Giraud would have done this justice)
  • “Take My Breath Away” (Allison did a good job with Aerosmith, but imagine if she pulled off this Berlin song with her trademark roughness. It would have brought down the house.)

Okay, I know I’m going to hell for this, but I would have loved to have seen Anoop just completely fuck with everybody’s mind if he dressed up like Aladdin, full wardrobe, and did “One Jump Ahead” with full choreography and blocking, and the Ricky Minor band could have done the ensemble work, like have the trumpeters yell “Scoundrel!” and “Take that!”

The Wife:

But how could Anoop get an Aladdin outfit when he was too busy doing the ONE THING I ASKED HIM NOT TO DO and donning an honest-to-God letterman’s jacket? Okay, it was the bastard love child of a letterman’s jacket and a blazer, but still, that was the one collegiate look I asked him not to do, and he ignored me. And you know what it did? It got him in the bottom three. (Look, I realize it was mostly the song that did that, but I’m going to pretend it was also the jacket. Because it was a shitty song, but he sang it well. Thus, I think America voted nay on the over-the-top jacket.)

Everything I do, I do it so you won't wear this damn jacket again!

Everything I do, I do it so you won't wear this damn jacket again!

I’m running out of things to say about this show, fashion-wise, as the contest is a sausage fest and the guys have definitely got their signature looks figured out. Lil still desperately needs Tim Gunn’s help, going from another strange black vest concoction on performance night to a lime green shirtdress made out of the worst polyester in the world on elimination night. She got longer extensions this week, which made me realize that she’s a lot prettier with shorter hair and that she probably should have kept it short for the whole competition. I’m afraid someone told her that she wasn’t getting America’s votes because she didn’t look feminine enough, or something, but that advice has lead her down a long, dark path of hair extensions cast-off from Tyra’s modelettes. Let me remind her that Fantasia had a super butch haircut back in Season 3 . . . and that lady won.

I wasn’t fond of Allison’s performance garb, especially the twice-tucked corner of her black shirtdress, but it was way cuter than the rainbow-sherbert concoction she decided to wear for eliminations. Allison, honey, I know you’re 16, but you are on national television. You are not going bowling with your friends; you have to look like the rock star we know you are. Please don’t disappoint me again.

And on a couple of non-fashion related notes, I wish Adam Lambert hadn’t chosen “Born to Be Wild,” but what he did to it totally reminds me of his performances at The Zodiac Show. Like this one:

(Yes, I have been stalking him on YouTube!)

But I am super-duper glad Kris Allen chose “Falling Slowly” from Once, the most amazing little Oscar-winning musical movie ever! I am a Kara defender, but I wanted to punch ladyface in the teeth when she dubbed the song “obscure.” As my husband mentioned above (and I just did, too), it won an Oscar very recently. People may not have seen Once, but they have encountered the song. And I cannot be happier that the Internet exploded yesterday with searches for the movie, the song and the lyrics — all because of Kris Allen. So, perhaps Kara was right, and its obscure for Idol‘s audience. But it won’t remain obscure much longer.

I couldn’t find the scene from the film in which that song appears on the YouTube, but here’s Fox Searchlight’s official music video thing of the song and clips from the film:

And here’s another song from the film, that I totally love called “When Your Mind’s Made Up:”

Featuring one song from Once on Idol’s approved song list almost made up for two shitty Bryan Adams songs, and I can only be thankful that Idol and Kris Allen brought more people to this lovely little indie film.

The Husband:

I don’t really have a whole lot to say this week. The performances on Tuesday were a mixed bag, with selections ranging from smart and dead-on (Adam, Allison) to stupid and dumbshit esoteric (Scott and Kris), and things went pretty much as I expected. Scott, despite his big heart and his borderline transcendence of the competition when in front of a piano, picked a virtually unknown-to-my-generation song by Survivor (who are only known for “Eye of the Tiger” and nothing else) and was, as predicted by me in my head, the lowest vote getter. The other two members of the bottom three included one that absolutely deserved to be there (Lil, who finally got bitched out by the judges for the exact same reasons I’ve been writing on this hyah blog) and one who didn’t (Anoop, whose rendition of “True Colors” made him sound like Kenneth Brian “Babyface” Edmonds circa 1995, which is not a bad thing). Switch out Kris with Anoop and you have the perfect bottom three.

For the record, it really freaks me out that Allison was born in 1992.

For the record, it really freaks me out that Allison was born in 1992.

So what’s been going on with Lil? Well, she’s been suffering from what I call Ramiele Syndrome, where a female artist impresses like crazy during the semifinals and seems set for complete glory, but upon getting into the Top 12 gets so nervous about show themes and control that she loses all semblance of individuality and begins to make lazy song choices and poor singing decisions. I supposed you could also name this syndrome after Mandisa or Jessica Sierra (without mentioned her stint on Celebrity Rehab) or Camile Velasco (man, what a fall) – or after any person you subjectively feel failed to live up to their promise – but it’s gotten to the point where I just want her gone. She is the karaoke queen of the competition, a nice voice but nothing else.

And no, there is no controversy regarding Adam Lambert’s choice to do Gary Jules’ version of “Mad World” instead of the 1982 Tears For Fears version, because that’s entirely in the rules, and nobody gave him false praise for doing a “unique version.” Danny Gokey is on slightly rockier waters for choosing a song that had a cover released in his birth year, even though the song itself, “Stand By Me,” was released in 1961, but it’s still entirely within the rules of the competition.

And lo, it seems that VoteForTheWorst.com is starting to have the opposite effect on the competition than expected. Their first choice for their members to vote for in order to cause pop culture anarchy, Megan Joy [Corkrey], only placed in ninth, and the moment they pick Scott as a follow-up, he’s gone too, in eighth place. This is further proof that their claim of pulling Sanjaya through the competition in s6 is complete bullshit, because they have no actual pull. It’s all talk, no walk, man. They can eat me.

And there’s the other important factor on American Idol Wednesdays – the Ford commercials. I appreciate the fact that it’s a way for the Idols to let off some steam for a day while messing around, but I don’t understand why they can’t be better. Wouldn’t it be best to make a commercial that could actually run on TV at times not associated with Idol. I guess not. In the eight years this show has been on, I can only recall one Ford commercial that I thought looked like a real commercial. It’s from s6, the Top 11.

Okay, there is one from s4 that does have a certain level of evocation. And, due to my love of both old school rap and the Muppets,  it’s evocative of my nightmares.

Could you honestly name any of the s4 contestants solely based off that video? Bo Bice and Niko Smith are the only two who look anything like their real-life counterparts.

The Wife:

First of all, I want to give props to Gokey and Anoop for having the balls to wear very bright colors, in celebration of their being born in the 1980s. Gokey looks good in hot pink and Anoop carried off that Kanye-ish green cardie like nobody’s business. But what I really need to talk about is Lil Rounds.

What's my leather got to do, got to do with it?

What's my leather got to do, got to do with it?

Lil, I’m sorry I thought your wig was on crooked last week. Apparently, it’s just that the person who gave you that weave didn’t bother to cut your bangs straight, and no one has bothered to fix them. As you fall further into your identity crisis, you performed your cheap Tina Turner song in cheap leather, and followed that up by performing the group sing last night in a tank top covered entirely in metal studs that were far too many and far too large. Girlfriend, Lady Gaga wear a zipper on her face and she wouldn’t even wear that shirt.

The problem, Lil, is that you have not only no idea what kind of artist you are, but you also have no idea what kind of person you are. I appreciate that you tried to look like you were performing a Tina song as Tina, but you didn’t do it right. It wasn’t like the Vampire Lamb Bear performing “Tracks of My Tears” as Frankie Valli, it was like poor Alexis Grace performing “Jolene” in her dowdy Dolly Parton outfit. If you are going to go costume, you have to do it right. And you don’t know how to do it right, so just don’t do it. Get a stylist who isn’t schizophrenic, understands body lines and get a hair artist who can cut straight and you’ll be well on your way to at least looking like you know what you’re doing.

Tim Gunn, can you please come and help Lil Rounds be fabulous? She needs you.

The Husband:

A couple weeks ago I asked if anybody thought Megan Joy [Corkrey] was taking the competition seriously. I’m disappointed to report that, after this week’s performance and overall demeanor, it’s a big fat “no.” Something really horrible happened inside the brain of this woman that I loved in auditions and semifinals that turned her into a goofy joke, going from sweet jazz crooner sweetness to ridiculous flat mess.

I can’t tell you how much this pisses me off. Yes, there are plenty of people out there who really hate this show, and that’s their right. The show doesn’t need their viewership to keep up in the ratings, so they can go and watch their Mentalist B.S. But it’s when somebody inside the competition tries to completely throw it for a loop that I get angry. I’m taking it seriously, girl, whether you are or not. Instead of trying to challenge the judges and their concerns, Megan (or, say, Scott Savol), maybe you could have listened to their VALID critiques and become a great performer who does great songs AND kept true to your spirit. Instead of joking around with the audience, Megan (or, say, Chris Sligh), maybe you can get recognized for being a true, unique TALENT and not make goofy faces when other contestants did BETTER than you and DESERVED their votes. Instead of trying to redefine the show with your antics and your constant inexplicable presence, Megan (or, say, Sanjaya Malakar), maybe…oy…I’m done.

I think you made an ass of yourself, and it insulted those of us who really take American Idol as more than just a FOX primetime singing competition. Whether you like it or not, this show changes the general American zeitgeist, and to get into the Top 12 (or 13) and not even seem to recognize the power one could have is just so utterly disappointing. Simon was absolutely right to not even give Megan a chance after her declaration of simply not giving a shit anymore, and for once a swan song was entirely preferable.

One day I'll fly away!

One day I'll fly away!

What would have happened if, instead of Megan, we had Kristen McNamara in the Top 13. Or Jesse Langseth. Or Jackie Tohn if she hadn’t embarrassed herself in semifinals. I’m starting to prefer all of them at this point. I am a fickle beast.

As for the other contestants, I’m generally kind of in the middle with this week’s theme. On the one hand, it really raised Scott McIntyre as an artist in my eyes, as well as finally showing me, for the first time ever, why Kris Allen has so many fans (I’ve been harping on the kid for weeks, but I thought he was stellar on Tuesday), but on the other hand…well…let me explain.

The idea this week was to keep the music selections completely wide open, allowing the artist to pick a song that truly represented them and who they wanted to become. But half of them simply chose songs they liked without any concern for performance. Look, we’re in the eighth season of this competition, so there is no excuse for not having studied the arcs or previous contestants and realizing what makes them last so long. You need to connect with your audience on an honest level while at the same time being original while at the same time picking a well-known enough song to spark that nostalgia and faith in your voters while at the same time picking something that will show off your chops. Once again, Lil Rounds and Danny Gokey take the cake for being true karaoke performers with nary a change to their original song – my wife and I are so disappointed in Lil’s song choices so far that she has kind of been dubbed Lakisha v. 2.0 – and boring the hell out of me. (Okay, Danny was pretty good this week as far as karaoke style is concerned, because he seemed to finally open up…to a point.)

Why didn't anybody tell me this wig was on crooked??

Why didn't anybody tell me this wig was on crooked??

Balls. Just…balls. Even Lambert picked the completely wrong song, but he did it well enough (to a point) that it didn’t entirely matter. Still, we need some mega-Lambert brilliance in the next two weeks or he may just end up confusing people more than inspiring them. He needs a perfect combination of his brilliant performance pieces with a true earthshaking ballad, and he’s got this in the bag. It seems that not even his utter flamboyance is turning anybody off anymore.

The Wife:

Look, I wanted to love Megan, too, but after last night, I’m glad she’s done. The minute she said she was singing Bob Marley, I waved my hand at the television and uttered, “Have fun going home!” And lo, my command has come to pass. I really think that she got on the computer and looked up what bloggers have been saying about her and just switched off the part of her brain with any semblance of logic and decided to become the thing everyone thought she was. When she cawed her way to the Space Stools of Doom last night, I knew the Internet had destroyed her, and I’m glad she’s gone.

You know who shouldn’t have been on the Space Stools of Doom last night? Allison Iraheta. You want to know why she was there? That. Fucking. Outfit. Now, some of you may consider it odd that I spend my part of this post writing about how the Idols dress themselves, but for all that Kara says about package artists, I believe there is some truth to the fact that it matters how you look — especially when you’re in the public eye. At this stage in the competition, I think a good performance paired with a tragic outfit can send you to your doom, and this is exactly what happened to Miss Iraheta this week.

The minute she stepped onto that stage, I knew I wasn’t going to like writing this post. I try not to be excessively mean to these people, even if I don’t like them. And I do genuinely like Allison, so if she comes across this on the Interwebs, I don’t want this to destroy her brain and wind up cawing her way to the Space Stools like Megan Joy. Allison, what I am about to say, I say in your best interests. You have to lose the spiky hair and you have to stop pulling out Hot Topic prom dresses. Those two things in combination make you look like a troll doll. Here’s a visual comparison for you:

One of these things is EXACTLY LIKE THE OTHER.

One of these things is EXACTLY LIKE THE OTHER.

Please don’t ever do this again, Allison. I am counting on you to be the one solid female singer in this year’s sausage fest of a show. Go back to the Kelly Clarkson-cum-Fergie vibe you had during Motown week. That made you like like the star you are, and that’s how I want to see you.