The theme for this week’s show is ‘popular iTunes downloads’. It’s a peculiar theme, but it does give us a rare chance to see some of the contestants singing contemporary songs - though this being iTunes, there are some golden oldies available as well. It also means the contestants can pick from just about any pop genre, so they get to choose exactly which rope they hang themselves with.
The first slot of the night is a terrible place to be - a lot of the audience hasn’t tuned in yet, and anyone who has won’t remember you or have any other performances to measure you again. It’s why Matt Giraud ended up in the bottom three last week (though, to be fair, he was also terrible). This week the shit spot has gone to Anoop, and I’m delighted, because not only does it hurt his chances, but his performance of Usher’s Caught Up is gloriously bad, and his sour sneering face-pulls are entertainingly horrid. Side note: He’s come dressed not as Usher, but as an usher, with a faux military jacket and a gold braid. As stylish as he is musical.
Almond Joy Cockring is singing Bob Marley’s Turn Your Lights Down Low. Megan Joy hasn’t had a good performance yet, and there aren’t many songs that fit her Louis Armstrong-tinged gargling grandma voice. Weirdly, I think this song actually does, and this is the first time she’s gone up on that stage and not scared the horses. It was a lifeless performance, but at least my milk hasn’t curdled. Sadly for Megan, the judges give her such a thorough kicking that she’s surely doomed. Maybe choosing a song that shows people what you actually sound like is a bad idea when you sound like a drowning lizard?
Ghoulish muppet Downey Gokey has picked What Hurts The Most by Rascal Flats, which I do not know, but I suspect it’s going to be a ‘my wife is dead’ song, because he hasn’t played that card recently. Sure enough, it’s a sad song about having to say goodbye, delivered with dull keening earnestness. And as soon as the song is done, he’s got that stupid smug shit-eating grin on his fat pork-butt face, which shows just how deep this particular river runs.
Allison Iraheta is singing Don’t Speak by No Doubt, which I could honestly live without. On the plus side, she’s holding a guitar (but not really pretending to play it much), and her hair is done up in a hilarious Jem and the Holograms haystack. It’s all wrong, of course; Kimber had the red hair, Aja and Shana played the guitar, and Raya was the Hispanic one. You can’t be all of the Holograms at once, Allison! And you don’t sound anything like Jerrica Benton! She does sound OK, though. More energy than ‘musicality’, if you’ll pardon me getting all wank. (It sounded like she was actually singing ‘Don’t Tweet’. Has she updated the song for the Twitter generation?)
Last week I said Scott McIntyre turns everything into a Billy Joel song. This week he’s saving himself the journey and going straight to I Love You Just The Way You Are. “Don’t go changing to try to please me; I’m blind and can’t see what you’re wearing aaaanywaaaaay”. Scott’s hair and jacket make him look like he’s off to play Kenickie in a repertory production of Grease right after the show. The vocal is reliably shaky. He’s a terrible singer and he’s more than outstayed his welcome, but disability is almost as popular as death in America’s heartland. (I can be as mean as I like about Scott. Who’s going to read this to him?)
Matt Giraud is horrible. His wretched voice, his wretched face, his wretched choice of songs - something awful by The Fray - it is all just monstrous. This week he’s singing ‘from the audience’, so even his gimmick is awful. I would puke, but then there would be two Matt Girauds in the world.
Lil Rounds has been letting us all down week after week. She was meant to be ‘the voice’ of the competition, but her singing is so aggressive that it hasn’t been at all pleasant. This week she’s singing Celine Dion’s Surrender, which gives her scant opportunity for nuance. She’s completely graceless, and worse, she’s flat for large stretches. Mind you, she has been squeezed into such an unflattering powder-blue vinyl sock that she may be struggling to breathe in anything less than desperate bucket-deep gasps. Best bad wig ever, though.
Adam Lambert, oh how we love him. Last week he showed why he’s the best thing to happen to Idol since, like, ever, with a stripped down Tracks of My Tears (which I have since listened to on YouTube about seventy times). Of course he’s back to full writhing grinding showgirl mode this week with a steamroller performance of Play That Funky Music. Ridiculous boy. It occurs to me that the real reason Lil hasn’t been able to strut her diva stuff on this show is that Adam Lambert hoovers up all the divatronium that gets delivered to the studio. That divatronium was meant to be shared, Adam! I note that, as of this week, Simon Cowell has given up critiquing Adam at all. He knows he no longer has any power here.
And finally, Kris. A couple of weeks ago Anoop sang Always On My Mind, which is a lovely song with almost no notes in it. This week it’s Kris Allen’s turn to do one of the world’s most pleasantly unchallenging numbers; Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers. Not only is it easy to sing, it’s easy to remember! Half the lyrics are “I know”! This means Kris can put all his energy into smouldering, which is energy well spent. The more I see of Kris, the more convinced I am that he deserves to get further in this contest than anyone but Adam. Perhaps not unrelatedly, I also find myself increasingly wanting to filth him up.
That’s the show. It’s Megan’s time to go, but Anoop and Matt ought to be in trouble as well, and I always cling to the hope that Scott McIntyre might be led away (whether he has the least votes or not).