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The Post-Game Show » allison iraheta

Posts Tagged ‘allison iraheta’

Idol: When You Think The Road Is Going Nowhere…

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

It’s results night. I warn you now, I will say who the winner is by the end of this post, so if you’re trying to avoid spoilers until it airs in your timezone, stop reading this, and avoid all other media. Call in sick and go back to bed. Basically, you’re screwed.

Before I assess this evening’s performances, I want to look back over the season as a whole. Was it a good year?

It’s a good final two, that’s clear enough. Kris actually looks and sounds like I think people who have never seen Idol believe Idols look and sound, but he is a strong performer and a talented guy. Adam doesn’t look like anyone’s idea of an Idol, and he’s turned the competition on its head and put a shot of adrenaline into the heart of mainstream American culture. He inspires people to write hyperbolic statements just like that one!

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But what of the rest of the top thirteen? There are names you’ll barely remember, like Jasmine, Jorge, Alexis and Michael (though Alexis deserved to do better). There are a lot of names I think the world would do well to forget; Scott, Matt, Megan and, of course, Danny Gokey. Outside of the final two, I think only Allison deserves to go on to a successful career, and I suspect she will. I wouldn’t be surprised if Anoop Desai also somehow makes something of himself - he’s the new Constantine Maroulis. I don’t see the appeal, but what his fans lack in numbers, they make up for in passion.

That’s not to say there weren’t other singers who could yet make names for themselves in this competition; they just weren’t in the final thirteen. The likes of Ricky Braddy and Jesse Langseth showed far more potential than many of the contestants ‘cast’ for the live shows. I liked the voting-in format of the show this year, with three groups of 12, but the talent was poorly distributed across them. Fully six of the finalists came from just one of those groups, including four of the final five.

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The other innovation beside the wildcards was the judges’ save, which can firmly be said to have flopped. It was introduced to solve a problem that didn’t really need solving, and it was squandered on Matt Giraud, who didn’t deserve this save any more than he deserved his wildcard save; he was consistently the most horrible performer to watch all season.

Oh, and then there’s Kara. She showed so much promise when she started, offering refreshingly informed and forthright opinions on the auditionees. Compared to Paula, she seemed like a genius. Then the show went live, and Kara became so soft and so stupid that it was like she was a completely different person. Her every utterance was dumb and devoid of insight. By the end of the season, I’d found a new appreciation for Paula. And Kara gave us this year’s diabolical winner’s song (from which the title of this post is taken). The best anyone can say for Kara is that at least she isn’t Randy ‘I agree with Simon’ Jackson.

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On with the show! On with the unflattering white costumes! The top 13 return for another of those tortuous group performances, this time Pink’s So What, and it’s actually better than most of these performances simply by dint of the fact that it’s a shouty song and these people can only shout when dumped on stage together. They are not a chorus. Interesting to note that Blind Scott seems to be managing his way around the stage. Now the show is over, he doesn’t need to pretend to be blind anymore. Watch the audience; we’ll probably see Danny’s wife out there, alive and well.

Last year’s champion, David Cook, follows up with a song for his brother, who died a couple of weeks ago from brain cancer. Proceeds of the sale go to finding a cure for cancer. I have nothing funny to say about this.

Next; the loser awards, for people who humiliated themselves on international TV. I was hoping they wouldn’t do this again this year. It’s cruel and painful. By all means bring the losers back for a group performance, as they seem to enjoy that, but don’t give them medals for stupidity! Anyway, you can guarantee that the winners will be Nick Mitchell and Tatiana Del Toro, both of whom actually made it to the voting shows, which is a sad indictment of the circus this show has become.

Lil Rounds versus Queen Latifah. Winner: Queen Latifah. Then Jason Mraz turns up for a performance of his feelgood summer pablum I’m Yours, with Alexis, Anoop, and Anoop’s scary child abuser moustache.

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This is followed by a montage of Kris Allen’s side-mouth singing, and Kris’s duet with Keith Urban. That’s sad. If I got to the American Idol final, I’d like to be rewarded with something more exciting than a guy best known outside the South as Nicole Kidman’s other ex-husband. (And I just checked Wikipedia to check I’d got the right guy, and he’s not the one who got divorced from Renee Zellweger for being gay, and apparently Keith Urban is still married to Nicole Kidman. Well, who knew? Given that he’s wed to Ms Nicole, I presume Keith Urban is also a closeted gay man. Country music is evidently a hotbed of self-loathing homosexuals. Proof, if proof were needed, that what the world needs now is Adam Lambert, sweet Adam Lambert.)

The Idol girls sing Glamorous, and we’re promptly reminded that Megan Joy was much worse than either Alexis or Jasmine, despite her interesting voice. But the producers smile on Megan by putting Fergie on stage, and suddenly Megan looks like Montserrat Caballé. Aaaand fast forward…

Bikini Girl. Ryan Seacrest pretending not to be gay. Fast forward… and there’s an actual nice moment here when Kara comes out on stage to perform with Bikini Girl, whom she loathed. And by perform with her, I mean school her. Turns out Kara can sing, dawg.

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Allison Iraheta versus Cyndi Lauper. Was Allison even alive when Time After Time was released? In fact, no; it predates her by eight years. EIGHT YEARS! Well, it’s nice that Cyndi was given extended day release from the home for this. She’s a bit rude, though, concentrating on her zithering all the way through the performance.

Danny Gokey sings Hello with Lionel Richie. Thrilling. Fast forward. Either this turned into a medley half way through, or this the most HI-NRG version of Hello that’s ever been performed.

To sweeten that bitter pill, we get the Adam Lambert video package, set to Rule the World. A-ha-ha. Then Adam’s showpiece, wherein he’s dressed as a Starlight Express quarterback and backed by Kiss. What’s astonishing is how comfortable and composed he sounds - moreso than he did last night. I think it’s safe to say he doesn’t care what happens next; he’s just here to enjoy himself. It’s glorious. It may be the high point in Idol history.

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Matt Giraud versus Santana. The oiliest few minutes in television history. Thankfully the Idols come on to pour detergent on things. Then a Ford commercial.

Megan Joy and Michael Sarver versus Steve Martin. Uh… OK. It’s some odd country song about an old married couple, with Martin playing banjo. There does not appear to be a punchline. Finally, the male Idols perform If You Think I’m Sexy in anticipation of, ladies and gentlemen, Mr Rod Stewart. And, I swear to God, Blind Scott is definitely not blind anymore. Rod sings Maggie May, and oh dear, Rod Stewart is old. Actually, I think they’ve accidentally booked Rod Hull.

Tatiana Del Toro. Fast forward. Kris and Adam sing We Are The Champions with Queen. But who is the champion? Who? WHO?

The winner of American Idol 2009 is… well, by the time you read this, you already know that the boy-next-door pipped the gay glam rocker to the post. It ought to be a huge surprise, a huge upset… but it’s not. It was obvious at the end what a close contest this was going to be. It is a little disappointing that the gay guy couldn’t win, and I do have to wonder what part homophobia played in his defeat - I’m sure some of those votes for Kris were from anti-Adam bigots rather than Kris fans - but even in losing, Adam has gone further than any ‘theatrical’ ought to be able to get on this show, and he did it on talent, and I’m thrilled to think what he might do next.

And now Adam never has to sing that terrible winner’s song again. Bad luck, Kris.

Idol: Poppy Rock Out With Your Poppy Cock Out

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Last week, shock, tears, angst, as Adam Lambert found himself in the bottom three. It was the lip-tremble heard round the world! How could this happen?

It is conceivable, when you get down to this few contestants, that anyone could find themselves in trouble. Fans of Adam may feel so confident of his popularity that they didn’t bother voting. With two contestants voted off the week before, all their votes may have gone to anyone but Adam. Allison was very good last week, and Danny was the same as he always is, which some folks somewhere seem to think is good enough. Adam might have been third. He might even have been fourth.

On the other hand, it is also conceivable that the producers of Idol would pretend Adam was in the bottom three just to drive up the number of votes for this week’s show. From ITunes sales to Google Trends to internet buzz, the data suggest that Adam is soaring above his rivals in popularity, and that should translate to a top two finish even on a bad week. I’m not buying last week’s result at all.

Besides, how can Adam even come close to losing when he has support like this?

It’s rock week this week, and the mentor is Slash. Hurray for a ballad-free zone! It’s also the first week - nay, the first time - that the show has paired up the contestants to perform duets, which could be interesting. One assumes they will pair Adam with Allison, because Adam has the gay, and he can’t be seen giving it to good Christian boys Danny or Kris. America is a land where you can choose same-sex singing or opposite singing, and when it comes to Adam Lambert, I think that I believe that singing should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.

Adam’s solo number is up first, and he’s singing Whole Lotta Love, aka the Top of the Pops feem toon - the first Led Zeppelin song ever performed on the Idol stage! Adam’s rock drag looks terrible - hedgehog hair, biker bling and enough eyeliner to render him cross-eyed - but he’s turned the Elvis sneer up to 11. Adam does have a great rock voice, and he gives this the usual full dose of welly, but I have to admit, it’s far from my favourite performance from him. The judges love it, though. Interestingly, this is the first time I can recall that he’s sung a song about (or rather, aimed at) a woman, though, despite the title, it’s not exactly a love song.

Allison is next, in her own rock leathers plus Ronald McDonald hair and lipstick. Allison is the show’s natural rocker, so this should be her week, though the fact that she’s a girl rocker on Idol means it’s a minor miracle she ever got here. The song is Cry Baby by Jackie Jormp-Jomp. Sorry; Janice Joplin. I think there are many better Joplin songs she could have sung. I’m not feeling this one. Her other choice was Somebody to Love by Jefferson Airplane. God, I would have loved that. I’m now going to pause the show and go listen to that on YouTube.

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Aaand I’m back, and we’re into duet territory already, with Kris versus Danny on Renegade by Styx. Aww, seeing these two together, it’s like Katherine McPhee and Taylor Hicks all over again! I note that, while all the other contestants are wearing black with at least some leather (or, more likely, pleather), Danny has apparently popped out to American Apparel for a safe red shirt, because he don’t have no truck with no devil worshippin’, no sir. Renegade is a great campy song with terrific harmonies, but these boys aren’t exactly rockers. Simon tells Danny that he was better, and man does Kris look pissed.

Kris’s idea of classic rock is… The Beatles. Look, I know that technically that’s permissable; The Beatles belong to that era, and they produced some bona fide classic rock hits, but it’s not exactly true to the spirit of the theme, is it? It’s kind of a pussy choice, Kris. The song is Come Together. He survives it, just about, but Kris Allen does not rock.

Danny Gokey is singing Dream On by Aerosmith, aka all the awesome bits in Sing For The Moment by Eminem. He starts flat, and gamely carries on in that vein for much of the journey. There were no full dress rehearsals this week because of an accident on set, which may explain the general lack of confidence this week, but Danny seems to be suffering from it more than most. His screams at the end are just horrible, and if ever Danny is going to be in trouble, this is the week. His usual flat matt competence is missing.

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It’s been a lacklustre show, but there is one last hope for redemption; the Adam/Allison duet. On reflection, it’s a good thing they paired these two up, because they should be able to have some fun together. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Dead Ringer For Love. Sadly it is not to be. The song is… Slow Ride by… Foghat? Is that a real thing? Foghat? Never heard of them, but never mind. Adam and Allison give it their all, they sound terrific together, and they’re having a great time.

I have to say, I thought Allison would be going home this week, but after that last performance, and after Kris gave such a poor accounting of himself, I think it’s time to say goodbye to Idol’s pocket pin-up. Danny was far and away the worst of the night, but his supporters are immune to both reason and music.

Idol: Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

It’s suits night on American Idol, where all the men wear suits! Awe-inspiring. Officially, they’re calling it ‘Rat Pack’ night, because swing was very in years and years ago when they started doing this, and somehow the show never got over it. Once again, no modern, relevant music for these aspiring modern, relevant performers!

Before we get to the songs; iTunes accidentally revealed the sales figures for Idol downloads in their chart last week. Of the seven most popular Idol tracks, six were by Adam Lambert (which, at that time, was all the available songs by Adam Lambert). Kris Allen had three of the Idol top ten (including number two). That left Danny Gokey with one entry at number nine. Allison and Matt’s highest entries were outside the top ten and safely out of the Adam Lambert zone.

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So, if iTunes is a reliable yardstick, we’re probably looking at an Adam/Kris final, which would be a surprisingly good result for a top 12 that was bogged down with crap like Megan, Scott and, well, Matt Giraud. Last week they sent home Lil and Anoop. I’d be perfectly happy if they sent home everyone else this week and we just cut to the chase.

Just so we’re clear; Adam Lambert is now a bona fide cultural phenomenon. He doesn’t have to win this thing (though he almost certainly will); he’s already a star. How it happened, I don’t know, but there are widespread reports that he’s a favourite of the grandparent set, who regard him as something of a throwback to the golden age of rock ‘n roll, while he’s simultaneously winning big with Twilight kids, and he’s even the most popular contestant in places like Arkansas, Utah and Oklahoma, according to Google Trends - and they can’t all be hoping to hunt him down and burn him. (Even in their home states of Wisconsin and Arkansas, Danny and Kris are getting fewer searches than Adam. Only in his own home town is Kris more popular than Adam.)

As the theme is the Rat Pack, the mentor is… Jamie Foxx. The first person you’d think of. As Ryan Seacrest explains, “like the Rat Pack, Jamie Foxx has gone on to break the boundaries of the entertainment industry”. Thanks Ryan.

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Wearing a suit first tonight is Kris, whom Jamie identifies as his favourite. He’s my favourite too, Jamie! Apart from Adam, of course. The song is Someday, and it’s a little low for our perfect package pop-star, and there’s not much for him to do with it other than add some runs and hit the end-note. A workaday performance, but who cares? He’s adorable. (Randy calls it Kris’s best performance to date, but remember, Randy didn’t like Kris’s actual best performance to date, which was Falling Slowly.)

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Allison is not wearing a suit. She’s wearing a lampshade. Her song is the Gershwins’ Someone to Watch Over Me, and it’s a great choice, because all through the competition Allison has been showing how good she is at rock vocals, but she’s never shown her softer side. This is a tour de force performance that, for the first time, let’s us hear some softness and emotion in Allison’s voice. It would be a real shame if she went home after a performance like this one.

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Matt is wearing a suit and another from his collection of too-small hats! It now occurs to me that he’s been wearing hats all the time so we couldn’t see the witch’s nipple on his forehead. Matt says this week is his week. His My Funny Valentine gets off to such a flat, shaky, unconfident start that I’m not sure he believes that. It’s a horrible exercise in tortured vowel sounds. Simon is bizarrely nice about it, and I’ve no idea why. I don’t know why he gave Matt a wildcard slot, I don’t know why he gave him the judges’ save, and I don’t know why he’s being nice to him now. I can only theorise that Matt has some incriminating dirt on Simon that he’s holding over his head. Literally nothing else makes sense.

Danny is wearing a dark suit and dark-framed glasses. His song is Come Rain or Come Shine. He sings it the way you would expect him to sing it. I have completely run out of things to say about Danny Gokey. I don’t even have the will to insult him anymore, he bores me that much.

Finally, the man you all came to see; Adam Lambert. And of course - of course - he’s doing Feeling Good, and I don’t know if he’ll be doing it Muse or Nina. Oh, and he’s wearing a white suit. He wears shiny suits a lot already, so there’s no way he was going to just wear a suit today; it had to be a white suit. This may be his most dragalicious cabaret performance yet, but of course it’s a tremendous display, and the last notes are showstoppers. Simon actually mocks Randy for calling it theatrical - this is how Adam Lambert has changed the face of this world.

It’s obvious that Matt should go home this week, and I still think he actually will, but I’m entirely open to the possibility of an early exit for Danny Gokey. The world demands a Kris/Adam final!

Idol: Feed A Fever

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

It’s disco night. Must we?

Last week the public decided it was sick of Matt Giraud and said could we please not have him and his Davros mole and his sickly rictus on our screens anymore? After all, he was a wildcard contestant; the public didn’t want him there in the first place. And what happened? The judges saved him. They used their one and only veto on that.

Did Matt deserve a third chance? Of course not. He’s always been a terrible, mewling, miserable streak of piss. But the judges were running out of chances to use their special save, and if they didn’t use it at all, it would suggest that the idea was a bad one, and they couldn’t have that. So for the third time, Matt Giraud was forced on a public that didn’t want him. Thankfully, he’s about the least disco person imaginable, so he has little chance of surviving this week, where two acts will now be sent home.

The first to sing tonight - and very probably the other person going home - is Lil Rounds, busting out of a black catsuit and singing I’m Every Woman. Lil’s cavalcade of dead ferret wigs must finally be exhausted, which means her time is through. I was once sure Lil would make the final three, but she’s made bugger all effort to impress and given every impression that she thinks she should get through on brass balls alone.

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Kris Allen has picked She Works Hard For The Money, and a loose white t-shirt. Both odd choices. Wouldn’t a tight white t-shirt have made more sense, dinky little sex-smurf? He’s reimagined the song as a Santana number. (I’m very annoyed that Paula has said exactly the same thing, which makes me fear for my sanity, but she then went off on a rant about men in women’s clothing, so no-one will remember that.) I think we’re going to see a lot of un-disco tonight, which is just as well. I actually like disco. But I like it done well.

Danny Gokey is singing September, by Earth Wind and Fire. And isn’t he looking chunky? Every week, there’s a little bit more of him to be bored with. This is one of his least comfortable performances, but it doesn’t matter; there’s no accounting for the appeal of Danny Gokey. Maybe it’s because he’s a good church-going boy? Maybe it’s still sympathy votes for his dead wife? Or maybe people just like safe and dully consistent? If we get the expected Danny/Adam finalé, it’s going to be very interesting cultural schism; the dependable holy widower versus the flamboyant godless homosexual. Porridge versus popping candy. And then Danny will win, because America is a soulless place.

(You’ll note I’m finally calling him Danny, not Downey. I know the joke wore thin about two months ago, but I just genuinely have trouble remembering that his name isn’t Downey.)

Allison Iraheta’s hair this week is styled in the fashion of the Cowardly Lion, and she’s wearing a PVC and rhinestone emo bee costume. It’s all very bold. The song is Hot Stuff, with rocks on - Donna Summer is this week’s Bryan Adams. It’s not Allison at her finest, but I think she now has some momentum behind her.

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Adam. The pattern says that Adam should go for something stripped down this week, and that he’ll have his hair swept up away from his face, but can he do ’stripped down’ in disco week? He has got the hair back in the pompadour, so the signs are good. The song is If I Can’t Have You, and - shock - he is sticking to his pattern. He is not going for 12-cylinder disco. He’s singing a Bee Gees song as if it were an emotional ballad. Not as good as his Mad World or Tracks of my Tears, but he’s still outsinging the competition and cementing his place in the hearts of grandmothers everywhere.

Ryan Seacrest looks hilariously tiny next to Adam’s hair.

Matt Giraud is singing Stayin’ Alive, because you really want to be doing another Brothers Gibb number after Adam, oh yes. Bad falsetto, a hectoring pace, and appalling sub-Timberlake shuffling. Did we really deserve another week of this guy and his supermarket fish counter hats? Why? What did we do wrong?

The one good thing about saving Matt is that they can’t save Anoop, who is last up this evening. I’ve learned that Anoop’s fans love him because of the R&B timbre of his voice. And also because they want to hump his cartoon eyebrows. They don’t care about his limited range! They don’t care about his lack of vocal control! They don’t care that he’s been in this contest three months too long! They lurve him. The song is Dim All The Lights, by… Donna Summer! Simon gives it the worst comments of the night; he has decided that Anoop has got to go. I can’t disagree.

Two people go home this week, which changes the voting dynamic quite a bit. It ought to be two of Lil, Matt and Anoop, and any such result would make me perfectly happy, but after last week’s reprieve, I’m very keen to see Matt kicked out of here. Go home, Frankenstein!

Idol: Goes To The Movies, Talks All The Way Through, Spills Kia-Ora All Over The Seats, Probably

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

This week on Adam Lambert and friends; Quentin Tarantino and songs from the movies. But first; the reality show contestant people have been talking about this week is not La Lambert, but this lady, Ms Susan Boyle.


Susan Boyle Sings on Britain’s Got Talent 2009 Episode 1 @ Yahoo! Video

You’ve probably watched that clip at least a couple of times before, but you probably just clicked play again anyway, because it’s fully awesome.

Reality show audiences have been conditioned to expect terrible things from their freak-show contestants. These unglamorous, socially inept weirdoes are put on the stage because the show wants us to laugh at them, like the braying subhuman bastards that we are.

With her melting chins, her bushy brows, and her confession that she has ‘never been kissed’, Ms Boyle seems the definitive shat-upon auditions outcast; she’s putting her heart and hopes on the line for one last shot at public acceptance only to be turned into an object of national ridicule. We expect this woman to fail because we’ve been told that these people will fail. So it’s a moving moment when she transcends and ridicules our prejudices and breaks out a set of pipes that are very nearly ready for the stage. Life has handed Susan Boyle a shitty hand, yet suddenly she’s a star.

Of course, her success will empower even more freaks and weirdoes to take to the audition stage in the delusional belief that they too are Susan Boyle, and the intellectual cesspool of the audition rounds will have enough putrid meat to feed another season.

Enough of this jollitry! On with the motley, Madam Lambert! On with the show!

As mentioned above, the theme is movie songs, and the guest mentor is shambling palsied homeless guy Quentin Tarantino, the king of the mixtape! Amusingly, they show a filming clip from Inglourious Basterds, but Ryan Seacrest refuses to say the film’s name.

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Allison Iraheta is singing I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, because, being 16, she knows exactly what it’s like to be Liv Tyler’s decrepit drug-addled father. Allison is in constant danger on this show, having been at the bottom twice, so tonight’s woozy, flailing performance (complete with a ‘fighting my way out of this black plastic bag’ punching dance) could leave her in trouble.

Anoop Desai is singing Jai Ho from… oh, OK, no, he’s doing Everything I Do, the first of two Bryan Adams numbers tonight. Quentin has asked Anoop to rough it up with a big vocal, and since Anoop can’t do rough or big, it’s clear Quentin hates Anoop and wants him to fail. Hurray for Quentin Tarantino! But Anoop isn’t listening, and is doing the song so sedately that he’s managed to make the original sound jazzy and peppy. Big key change? Not for Anoop. Anoop has fewer keys than a jailer at an open prison.

Adam Lambert never saw a ridiculous song choice he didn’t like, so of course he’s doing Born To Be Wild, with leather jacket, chains, and all the guyliner you can eat. This is a song that allows Adam Lambert to be fully Adam Lambert, and it will change absolutely no-one’s minds about him, but this is the clever game Adam is playing; one week he’s celebrating being him. The next he tones it down and wins more converts to his cause. At this stage America is eating out of the palm of his bedazzled gay hand. Grandmothers, mothers and daughters all love this ‘mo, and mo’ power to him.

Miserable Matt Giraud is often compared to Justin Timberlake, seemingly for no other reason than he sometimes wears Justin Timberlake’s hats. His song is Bryan Adams’ When You Lurve A Wurman. Some people actually like Matt Giraud and his scowling arse of a face and his whiny, leg-shagging voice, which just goes to show, there’s no accounting for people being morons.

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Downey Gokey - formerly Orm of Orm and Cheep - gets some interesting advice from Quentin; keep your hands still so that the emotion comes through your eyes. It sounds like bullshit, but at least Quentin is giving this mentor thing a shot. The song is Endless Love. Downey hits some bum notes, and I’m damned if I can sense any emotion streaming out through his wife-murdering gimlet piss-holes, but it’s competent, in a samey, Downey Gokey way. (Note: He didn’t really kill his wife. He did kill JonBenet Ramsay, though.)

When I heard Kris Allen was doing Falling Slowly, the beautiful Oscar-winning song from Once, I thought his would be the breakout song of the night. Short of tripping over Ricky Miner and skewering himself on the band, Kris ought to be delivering a knicker-twisting rendition of this song. Unfortunately it starts too low for him, and it’s not a home run, but I don’t think it will matter; this is the song every Kris Allen fan wants to imagine Kris Allen singing to them. The votes should flow like adolescent liquids.

Finally, Lil Rounds, the girl no-one gives a damn about anymore, because she has staunchly refused to live up to her promise. Simon has written her off, and so have I. She needs a solid gold diva performance to turn things around. Her rendition of Bette Midler’s The Rose isn’t quite it, but when she goes gospel there is a spark of the Lil Rounds I used to get excited about. It’s Lil’s best performance in months, but it may be too late, and that last note wasn’t right.

As Kris failed to fully deliver, the night is sadly without a standout performance. It’s also without any standout disasters, but I’d like to think Anoop and Matt are in trouble, even if only on aggregate.

Idol: Adam Lambert’s Year

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Dedicated followes of this blog (and, I suppose, Idol) will note that I’m a day late with my comments this week. This is an unavoidable side effect of getting drunk and eating a pound and a half of buffalo wings. There can be no blogging after that much chicken.

Still, Idol does not sleep, and I feel duty-bound to put my thoughts out there on last night’s show before tonight’s results roll in.

Before I get to the performances, I’m going to offer a few words on America’s new gay hero. I’m beginning to feel quite emotional about little Madam Glambot. Latest bookmaker’s odds actually have Adam as the favourite to win the competition. I want that to be true, but I don’t honestly believe it can happen. Still, the fact that he’s the favourite right now is a victory in itself. Adam Lambert is not just gay; he’s ultra-gay. He’s camp, theatrical and unapologetic. He performs like a gay man who wants everyone to know he’s a gay man - and his song choices are almost always about being an outsider. Even after photos of him kissing other men appeared on the internet, he stayed on top, and anecdotal evidence suggests that he’s a favourite of mothers and grandmothers across America. Even Bill O’Reilly said on his show this week that, if Adam is the most talented, he should win. The rise and rise of Adam Lambert may mark a cultural breakthrough. He’s America’s queer messiah. I suspect he’s almost entirely responsible for the decision to allow gay marriage in Iowa and Vermont

On with the show. Downey’s song is Stand By Me. The theme this week is ’songs from the year you were born’, so apparently Downey is 48. Or he’s a great big cheater. Downey offers a bold reinterpretation of this much-loved soul standard, giving it the feel of a combine harvester crashing into a late night jazz club, killing seven and injuring dozens. The judges lavish the same generic praise on the smug Gorg that they give him every week, which is apt, as he gives the same tarmac-constipated performance every week.

Last week Matt Giraud sneered from the crowd. This week pocket cutie Kris Allen is thrown to that same crowd, where the maddened front-row swayers tear him limb from limb in a Bacchanalian orgy of blood. But like Orpheus, he keeps singing. Well, sort of. All She Wants To Do Is Dance isn’t much of a song, and he offers a slightly spluttery performance, like he’s singing with the microphone down his throat.

I’ve had enough of Lil Rounds and her high-power hose of a voice. She still hasn’t had a single good performance, and this week’s mauling of What’s Love Got To Do With It was a hollering embarrassment. I feel her time has run out, but I suppose we do still have Anoop, Scott and Matt to cull, so she’ll get a few more opportunities to hang herself with her own larynx.

Speaking of Anoop, we’re due another shaky, tin-eared caterwaul from the man who puts the ‘dork’ in ‘Anoop Desai is an utter dork’. His version of True Colors is less Cyndi Lauper, more Hindi pauper.

It’s crap sandwich time, as Anoop is followed by Scott MacIntyre. I wonder what Alexis Grace would be singing right now if she were still in this competition? Something awesome, I expect.

Allison Iraheta has fabulous big hair again this week. Allison is very young, so I half expected her ’song from the year you were born’ to be something by Lady Gaga. Instead it’s I Can’t Make You Love Me, and as I’ve come to expect from Allison, she sings with remarkable confidence and real heart. She’s been in the bottom three at least twice now, so she’s obviously not reaching the viewers, but she deserves to go much further than Lil Rounds, and I’d easily take her over Gokey.

Ladies and gentlemen, the smooth jazz stylings of Matt Giraud. Today’s pizza special is the Venezia, and there is an additional five penny surcharge on your bill which goes towards local heritage restoration projects. Please remember that it is apparently 1985, so try not to run over any Sinclair C5s on the way home.

Finally, Adam Lambert, doing Mad World, but secretly the Donnie Darko version, not actually the version from the year he was born. I like Adam even when he’s strutting and wailing and wearing all his make-up - he’s like the brilliant Azerbaijani angel from last year’s Eurovision - but some people find that terrifying, so he scores higher when he shows a little subtlety. This song allows him to show off his two great talents; vocal control and emotional intensity. Simon Cowell gives him a standing ovation, and it’s deserved.

Most weeks I’ll try to predict who’ll be in the bottom three. This week I have the advantage that the figures from Idol predictor site Dial Idol are already in, and it’s looking bizarrely bad for Kris Allen, who wasn’t great but was far better than Anoop, Scott, Matt and Lil. I hold out hope that it’ll be Anoop that goes home, but I think Kris has proved himself enough in this competition that the judges could actually use their save if he is in last place.

Idol: Don’t Forget the Motor City

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

It’s Motown week! To celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest record labels of all time, a bunch of hapless reality brats are going to do their own hand-clappy mayonnaise versions of some of the most amazing songs ever written! Happy birthday, Motown! I hope Megan Joy sings Al Green! Then I’ll know my life has hit its nadir and it’s all uphill from there!

Actually, I generally like Motown week, because it’s hard to pick a bad song from that catalogue. They do exist - Boys II Men is Motown, after all - but you’re not going to go there when you can pick from Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops and the Jackson 5, are you? Are you?

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Matt Giraud goes first with the least sexy version of Let’s Get It On I think I’ve ever heard. The only ‘it’ I can imagine him wanting to ‘get on’ is a Christmas jumper with reindeer on it. This is a performance that immediately puts the lie to the idea that Matt has a white soul voice.

Kris Allen maintains his swoon offensive with How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You. Here’s the thing about Kris: he can sing; he has a nice, palatable voice and he’s proficient in its deployment; but everything he sings sounds so neutered. He’s a child-safe and wipe-clean pop star.

Scott McIntyre is still here, everybody! And he’s wearing astonishingly ugly pink trousers with a brown jacket, because we must not forget that he’s blind. Never forget. His song is You Can’t Hurry Love, because Scott loves taking dynamic girl songs and turning them into dull Billy Joel numbers. This he promptly does.

A few words here on Kara DioGuardi, the new judge. Back in the auditions, Kara seemed like a welcome addition to the show. She was sharp, she was critical, and she said what she was thinking. I want to know what happened to her between the auditions and the live shows. Did she realise being brutal made people say mean things about you, and she wanted to be loved? It feels like she was lobotomised and can now only spew out recycled inanities from the last seven seasons of the show. Is it possible they brought Kara on to make Paula look smarter?

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Megan Joy, singing For Once In My Life. I’ve realised who Megan Joy reminds me of. You remember the movie A Life Less Ordinary? There’s a scene where Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz sing karaoke in a bar, and though Cameron has a flat, rasping voice that’s hard to listen to, she sings with great and painful enthusiasm. She loves singing, even though she’s absolutely no good at it. That’s Megan Joy, and somehow she’s ended up on TV. Paula gives her the ‘you look beautiful’ kiss of death.

I’m getting drunken office party flashbacks; visions of uncool men dancing badly. That can only mean it’s Anoop Desai time! (Actually, it could equally mean it’s Downey Gokey time, but it’s not. It’s geek o’clock.) Anoop’s song is Ooh Baby Baby, a very mellow and understated little nothing. It almost skates within Anoop’s grossly limited range, bar a few strained falsetto moments. Go back to being flamboyant, Anoop! You’re much more likely to get voted off when you’re being flamboyant!

Michael Sarver is not popular on the intertubes. He’s considered an also-ran, and one without the fanbase of a Scott or an Anoop. I can’t really dispute his also-ran status; he hasn’t had a standout performance yet. He always sounds the same. He’s not bad, but he’s not exciting or quirky, and he never does anything vocally dazzling. He’s aural porridge, without the brown sugar. He sings Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, but does it even matter what he’s singing? If he was ever going to give a performance some razzle-dazzle, I suspect he’s left it too late now.

All the better singers have sunk to the bottom of the cereal box this week, leaving us with a second half full of delicious dehydrated marshmallows. We start the main show with Ms Lilian Rounds, the only black singer in Motown week. Lil has to carry all the divas all by her lonesome! No wonder she crumbles under the weight, both of that expectation and of her cushion of Michelle Obama hair extensions, which, by the way, look like no Motown ‘do I’ve ever seen. The song is Heatwave. The performance is lukewarm. Lilian! Stop shouting! (“I can’t!”)

Adam Lambert’s song is Tracks Of My Tears, which is both an awesome song in its own right, and a great song for Adam to sing if he wants to prove he’s more than just a camp spectaculah spectaculah. To drive the point home, Adam has wiped off his make-up, donned a grey suit, and pomaded his hair into submission. The song is similarly stripped down, and he looks and sounds great. Motown is big on falsetto, and his voice is suprisingly well suited to the style. It’s brave, it’s bold and it’s ever so good. That should silence a few critics.

Downey Gokey is doing Get Ready, because it’s a “fun song” to “get you moving”. We’ve all seen Downey moving, and it’s not nice. He dances like he’s squeezing a brick between his arsecheeks. Like Michael Sarver, he trots out exactly the same performance every week, though people seem to like his version more. I am thoroughly tired of him, but we’ll be stuck with his church hall-brand of  ’rock ‘n roll’ for a few weeks yet.

Allison Iraheta ends with Papa Was A Rolling Stone, which is a good choice for the underappreciated rocker. It’s a little low to start, but once she gets going it’s stadium stuff. Small stadium. Local sports team. I think one of Allison’s problems is that she doesn’t come across as 16 when she’s singing, so she doesn’t get the cute vote. She’s already good enough that there’s no journey to cheer her on for.

Looking at the recaps, it’s pretty obvious that it ought to be Matt Giraud (howling dogs), Megan Joy (screeching cats) and Michael Sarver (raging bull) in the bottom three, but if Scott McIntrye stumbles his way down in there, I won’t be upset about it.

Idol: Jesus Write My Blog

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Before we get down to this week’s show, let’s talk about the Judges’ Save. Last week I posited that the change in the Idol rules would mean the introduction of the X-Factor method, wherein the judges choose which of the bottom two goes home. It’s an excellent method, as it allows for a little more nuance and intelligence than the brutal ‘boot the loser’ system. But it would not fly in America, where you can take people’s votes from them in a general election and they will demur, but if you even hint that the power of their vote could be diluted on a reality TV show, they will start painting signs and polishing their marching boots.

The Judges’s Save is not the X-Factor method; it’s the French Idol method. The judges have the option to save one contestant from elimination before the final five, if they are unanimous. One contestant. Once. This is in case of another Jennifer Hudson or Michael Johns; a contestant who either had one bad week but was otherwise awesome, or who seemed so guaranteed to go through that no-one bothered to vote for them, and deserves a safety net.

Is it a good move? No. It makes for a clumsy and uncomfortable end to every results show as the judges tell us they’re not saving this week’s loser. It drains the pathos from the leaving contestant’s song, and adds not a lot. But is it a terrible scandal? Is it an outrage? No! And yet Michael Slezak at EW.com said it would “nullify the public’s vote”, and James Poniewozik at Time.com called it “un-American”. Un-American! Time.com!

To be clear; people vote for the person they want to win, not the person they want to lose. There is nothing undemocratic about the Judges’ Save. By all means complain that it’s a bad idea, because it is, but it’s not robbing you of your basic rights as an American, you whining idiots!

Anyway, last week we lost Jorge Nunez and Jasmine Murray. Neither was a big surprise. This week…

This week is Grand Ol’ Opry week, which is a fancy way of saying ‘Country week’, with guest mentor Randy Travis, whom I have never heard of. As someone who loves Dolly and Glen and the Flying Burrito Brothers, I fear the sort of country they’ll be performing is not going to be the sort of country I like listening to. I predict a lot of Garth Brooks, a lot of Martina McBride, and probably some Carrie Underwood.

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Michael Sarver is first up, doing some kind of crazy scattershot number that sounds like the Saved By The Bell theme. “When I wake up in the morning / The alarm gives out a warning / I don’t think I’ll ever make it on time”. Fond as I am of Sarver, even I can’t take any joy out of thisweirdness. Paula’s comments, verbatim: “I, you know what, it’s a great Garth Brooks song, and I gotta tell you that, it, to me, allowed, to see you having fun, which made us have fun, and your artistic ability to take a harmonica player, it added charm, it boosted your confidence, and you’re fun. I thought that this is the genre that is, that suits you so well, and (drowned out by screaming crowd).” It’s going to be a good night for Paula tonight. Michael gives Simon some well-chosen sass, which may save him this week.

Allison Iraheta does a song about cheating hearts, but not the Hank Williams song. From rock to country is a shorter walk than many rock fans would like to admit (the difference is a fiddle), so Allison belts it out with practiced ease, and ought to sail through, but girl rockers have almost as much trouble on this show as ‘theatricals’. Ooh, maybe it’s a lesbian thing?

Kris Allen has a sideways Muppet mouth, like Peter Petrelli. This week he is singing, ‘I Am Very Handsome And I Love You; You Do Not Want To Send Me Home’. Unfortunately all the girlies at home will be too moist to want to get up and go to the phone. Oh, kids today all have mobile phones! He’ll be fine, in spite of his ill-fitting trousers, which seem to have given him man-cameltoe. Kris will sing this song every week, and will do very well. I for one am looking forward to his calendar.

Lil Rounds is singing Martina McBride’s Independence Day, which is a song I’ve actually heard of, but I’ve only heard of it because Carrie Underwood sang it on this show. Lil promises to respect the country and not do it R&B style. Lil has not listened to Tom Cruise’s advice in Magnolia: respect the rock; tame the country. Lil Rounds sings like we know she sings. Loudly, competently, and with very little nuance or emotion. Note to Simon and Randy: Lil is short for ‘Lillian’, not ‘Little’.

Adam Lambert is coming out, and we’d better get this party started! Tonight’s outfit; gold jacket, Native American necklace, fingerless gloves. Randy Travis does not understand homosexuals. He does not have the words to express his views on men wearing nail polish. Poor bemused Randy Travis. Adam does an Arabian sitar cover of Ring of Fire while writhing on the stage like a cobra. He does not respect the country. He respects the Bond song. I too respect the Bond song. We will call this Adam Lambert’s low-key, understated week. As Randy Travis has apparently made it charmingly old-fashioned to be skittish around ‘unconventional’ men, Simon takes this as his cue to be an asshole about Adam’s self-indulgence (which is a euphemism for ‘theatrical’).

Scott is blind. We judge him by no other standard than whether or not he’s blind in any given week. This week, he’s still blind.

I’m waiting for Simon to use one of his little predator lines on Alexis Grace. “You’re a minx”, or, “you’re a little devil”, or, “you’re a dirty goddamn whore”. Oh, he’s such a rogue! Alexis’ Jolene is shaky, and not up to her previous standards. It’s just a’ight, for me, for you. I slightly resent that she did Jolene at all, to be honest. You can’t cram Jolene into ninety seconds! It’s disrespectful!

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Hurray, Downey Gokey is singing reckless country anthem Jesus Take The Wheel, from the hit album, Jesus Handle My Responsibilities. Other tracks include Jesus Feed My Cat, and Jesus Stop My Sperm From Impregnating This Girl. Downey is not very good tonight, which is a relief, because let’s face it, we’re all sick of Downey now. Loving his spies-on-safari Joe 90 action figure jacket, though! Is Scott picking the costumes this week?

Novelty singer Anoop Desai wants to sex you up, just as soon as he’s finished his calculus homework. His song is Always On My Mind, which is a great song, yet also incredibly easy to sing, as it only has about three notes going up and down a scale. Singing is slightly out of Anoop’s skill set, but he gives it his best I Am Not Very Handsome And I Want To Rub Up Against You; Please Do Not Send Me Home. The judges cream all over him for no reason I can discern. Please send him home.

Megan Joy Cockring does Walking After Midnight. Randy Travis is impressed that she found something new to do with the song. Specifically, she’s singing it like your ancient maiden aunt after too many sherries, trying to relive her music hall days. It is a truly bizarre and frequently tuneless performance, but after last week’s Rockin’ Robin, I’m not sure how bad this girl needs to be before America will send her home. PS, Megan has flu, and she makes sure she coughs enough to let us all know. She coughs so much, I think I now have Megan’s flu.

Matt Giraud finishes the show. When Matt isn’t singing, he’s sneering in a way that suggests he’s wondering why he hasn’t been declared the winner already. His mouth goes up where Kris Allen’s mouth goes down! Melt them down and stir them in a big pot, and this show would be two weeks shorter! Matt sings some song involving a piano, like last week. It is boring, like last week. I hate this piano bar. Let’s go somewhere else next week.

Allison, Adam and Kris were varying degrees of palatable this week. In a sane world, either Scott or Megan should go home, and neither would get the Judges’ Save, but this is not a sane world, and this was not a good night, so I don’t know what’ll happen. I’d only expect the Save to get used on Allison, Alexis or Adam. (Lil and Downey aren’t likely to end up at the bottom before the final five.)

Idol: The Seconds Feel Like Hours

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

I admit it, last week I let my fear get to me and I underestimated the American public. I thought Tatiana was better than a lot of the pack and that she’d had enough exposure that she might actually have won some fans. I was wrong. She did not make the cut, and with any luck she won’t be back in the wildcard round. She shouldn’t be. She’s not right in the head, and the show needs to stop exploiting that.

Setting Tatiana aside, my next three choices to win after last week were Downey, Alexis and Michael, and those were indeed the winners. A lot of people are shocked that Anoop didn’t get through - Slumdog fevah, yo - but I think he’ll be back in the wildcards, sadly. With Tatiana sent home, there was some expectation of a flame out from her. She let us down. All she managed was a melting crying fit, as if she had forgotten that she was one of nine people being sent home and believed that she had been singled out for cruel and unusual punishment. Everyone else who lost was congratulating the winners, bu she was completely obseesed with her own sorry self.

But that was last week. Let’s put the horrors of last week behind us. What about the horrors of this week?

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Cat-faced Jasmine Murray is first, and she’s one of the girls I’ve picked to go far, but she starts her number too low, and it’s not because she’s planning to do some soaring later on. The song is some bland half-cocked mess called Love Song, and it’s terrible. After last week’s atrocious song choices, everyone ought to be reaching for the solid gold genius songbook this week, but maybe these kids are too young to know what good music sounds like? If all they listen to is Rihanna and Taylor Swift. (Are we allowed to pick on Rihanna again yet? If not, pretend I said… oh, hell, let’s stick with Rihanna.)

Ryan seems a bit more relaxed this week. I worry about him. It’s hard to go through life wearing a mask, carrying the burden of a secret that prevents you from relaxing and being yourself around people.

Matt Giraud is doing Viva La Vida by Coldplay. Er… OK. At least he’s exploiting his options, but it’s not a particularly good singer’s song. If it were, Chris Martin wouldn’t be singing it. Matt sings it like he thinks he’s Michael Bublé, and it’s nasty. Matt was another of the big hopes for this week’s group, so it looks like we’re destined for another awful show. The judges make the point that he’s not doing what he’s good at, which is blues, and that’s true. At this stage in the competition you do not show off your range; you do the one trick you know you’re really good at.

Jeanine Vailes sings This Love by Maroon 5. Whatever you might think of Maroon 5, that is one of the catchier pop songs of the last few years, and I always think girls singing boys’ songs (and vice versa) is a good idea - it sounds original and helps the singer to dodge comparisons. But it turns out it’s not the right song for her. She screeches like a cat in a kettle, and even her friends in the audience look like they know it’s a disaster. Paula can’t think of anything nice to say. Everyone tells her how nice her legs are, the camera dutifully gives us an upward pan. Classy.

I don’t know what to make of this tonight. We’re a quarter of the way through, and each singer has been worse than the last. There needs to be a steward’s inquiry into whoever is coaching these kids.

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Next up is Nick Mitchell, aka Norman Gentle, and it’s looking good for him tonight. He really ought not to stand a chance, but even if he’s atrocious, he’ll still be more memorable than all the other bad singers. Thankfully he’s singing in character, and he’s doing And I Am Telling You, with more camp than a jamboree. Even when the jokes are bad, it’s still shamelessly entertaining, and while Simon says he hated it, even he clearly enj0yed it. 

Allison Iraheta has the rock voice, the rock hair, and judging from the interview she gives Seacrest, the insolent disinterested rock attitude - which doesn’t get you any votes on this show. But she sings Alone by Heart, and it’s well in her comfort zone, and it’s an anthem, so she’s able to give it some welly. She’s basically the only singer who has bothered to turn up today.

Kris Allen is this week’s pretty boy. I’ve never seen him before, so the kid must have had zero exposure in the auditions. He sings Man in the Mirror, and it starts very shaky and uncomfortable, but he warms into it a little. There’s nothing very pleasing about his soulless pop voice, so he’d better hope his pretty eyes and winnng smile can get him through. Interestingly, Simon is pulling for him, and given how bad everyone else’s notices have been tonight, that gives this kid an outside chance - it worked for Michael Sarver last week. Ryan Seacrest is totally hitting on this guy.

Megan Joy Corkrey is an all-American girl who is cunningly using make-up to de-emphasise her Jennifer Garner man-chin. She sings Put Your Record On, which I happen to like even if it’s not the least bit cool to do so. It’s a very summery song. She’s unsteady but not horrible. Not by tonight’s standards. Oh God, I think I might put my back out the way I’m lowering this bar.

Matt Breitzke is the fat bald blue collar fella that the judges used to get oddly excited about. He’s a pleasant enough singer, but a very unremarkable one, especially here, and I’m too bored by his performnce to even note what his song was. 

Jesse Langseth is singing Bette Davis’ Eyes, and she’s got the right voice for it - a sort of Chrissie Hynde/KT Tunstall pop rock mewl. Jesse gets a passing grade - she’s achieved the bare minimum to deserve to be here. I don’t think she’ll go any further, but at least she didn’t disgrace herself. That said, she makes herself thoroughly unlikeable in the judging section by trying to be too cool for school, and Simon thankfully kicks her feet out from under her by telling her she’s forgettable. Good. I hate precocious wannabes. (Why do I watch this show again?)

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Kai Kalama looks like he should be busking on a boardwalk. He gives us What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted, which is a bona fide classic, but perhaps not one the kids can groove to, and not really in keeping with his surfer dude appeal. Also, Jimmy Ruffin may not be a household name, but he gave a pretty indelible rendition of this song, and Kai Kalama is no Jimmy Ruffin.

Mishavonna Henson (who was named by her godfather Jar-Jar) sings Drops of Jupiter. That’s unexpected. It’s such a song of its time that I half expected it to cease exist once we got midway through the 00s, along with Nickelback. (That did happen to Nickelback. Don’t try to tell me otherwise.) She drives the last note into a wall, but apart from that it’s… pleasant. I’m sorry, I can’t seem to get this bar any lower.

Last up is my favourite theatrical, Broadway boy Adam Lambert, of the emo-glam dress sense and the overcooked voice. I am keeping my fingers crossed for some showmanship from Adam - he is the last, best chance to redeem this horrible evening. These performances aren’t even bad in a nice meaty way that I can easily mock. 

Adam’s song of choice is Satisfaction, which bodes well. He sings it like a drag Elvis. But, hey, straight girls these days love their emo gay boys; they’re sexy in a safe, let’s-do-each-other’s-mascara way, and they can make girls wet with just one smoulder through the fringe. Adam puts on a good show, and is easily the best and most confident guy of the night. Simon calls it love-it-or-hate-it, which is code for, “you’re a homosexual, and this is America”. Randy compares him to Robert Pattinson, and Adam ingeniously takes the opportunity to say how much he likes the Twilight books, which is catnip to girls. It’s like telling middle America you love God. He’s going through based on that alone.

Besides Adam, I expect the other finalists going through this week to be Allison and Norman Gentle. Yes, after my wrongfooted pick of Tatiana last week, I’m doing it again with Norman.  If not Norman, then maybe Jesse. I’d expect to see Matt Giraud back in wildcard week.

Next week is Lil Rounds week. Some other people will also be singing. One of them is blind. Two of them are dreadful vain screeching mentally unstable theatricals. Surely that show can’t be boring?