Thursday, April 28, 2011

American Idol Season 10 Top 6 Week -- Results Show

Before I begin recapping tonight's show, let's look back at last night and see what we learned.  Randy Jackson does not know the meaning of "to turn the other cheek" and thinks New Orleans is a state.  He was unable to find any good name-dropping opportunities during Carole King Week ... which should make it a staple of future seasons if this show lasts beyond Season 10.  Steven can actually say something besides "that was beautiful" but whatever else he adds is even less helpful and nearly impossible to decipher.  And JLo is a guy magnet, even for guys of questionable heterosexuality.

Ryan reminds us that this is an elimination night which means "a lot of fans are going to be disappointed with tonight's results."  Spoiler alert -- not this blogger!

The top six did a medley of Carole King's songs and, for those of you hearty souls who want to brave the AI Live Summer Tour, let's hope none of these songs are performed.  In fact, I'd say that this group, because of its noted diversity of styles, is possibly the least able to harmonize of any prior collection of Idol contestants.  Every time two of them gets together, it's painful.  But, when a greater multiple tries to sing together, it's a mad dash by the home audience to the mute button.

Who sounded the worst?  I'd say the honor has to go to Jacob Lusk.  As bad as he is singing alone, when you hear his Kermit under water voice contrasting with the clear sounds of Lauren or James, it's disorienting.  But no one came away unscathed and the producers may want to consider scrapping medleys for the duration.  Or maybe use it as a product placement opportunity, a graphic of a bottle of Pepto Bismol would work just fine.

Although tonight their awful group singing was actually surpassed by how poorly each of them can do an English accent. Is it really that hard? Dear readers: In honor of tonight's final Michael Scott episode of The Office let's say together: "that's what she said."

Before we get into the results, last season's robbed second-place finisher, Crystal Bowersox, comes back to the Idol stage to sing "Riding with the Radio."  Well someone has sure gone country!  What happened to our midwest hippie chick?   So instead of Lillith Fair, she's off to CMA Fest.  She had one guy playing the mouth organ, another on steel guitar, and of the many choices on her very good debut album she (??) picked the most countrified one.  She still has a great voice, is a passionate performer, and a solid songwriter.  But I'm sorry to see her go down south.

For this week's twist, we have Jimmy Iovine weigh in about each of the remaining contestants before we hear their fate.  Jimmy was a little tough on Haley Reinhart...first he said she has one of the best voices in the competition, but he claims that Haley doesn't know who she is...Haley was not buying it and apparently used some epithet to express her disagreement.  Well, that should bode well for their future working arrangement.   We'll find out as Haley is safe and will be back next week.

Scotty McCreery is more accepting of Jimmy's suggestion that some of the subtlety he showed last night in his soft, tender rendition of You've Got a Friend may not result in sufficient votes.  But, ultimately (meaning after unnecessary drama, because there was no way Scotty was going anywhere!), Scotty was told he was safe.

Jimmy has a lot of faith in Lauren Alaina and it is not misplaced as the very young, very good singer is eventually told she is safe.  Then Jimmy gives the quote of the night.  Nay, the quote of the season.  In discussing Casey Abrams' growling/grunting vocals, Jimmy says "Casey has got to realize that the family dog does not vote on this show."  He predicts that Casey is safe (a psychic, he's not).  Ryan asks Casey about the grunting (finally!) and he explains that heh as a theory about it, that he has "this passion for music that I have to get out."   I suppose this means he's confirming our suspicion ... he's possessed.  As we all know, he eventually gets the bad news.  But not yet.

James Durbin is clearly the new frontrunner.  Jimmy loved him, the judges love him, and, according to Jimmy, if he picks the right songs "he can win this thing."  He is sent to safety, joining Haley.  Jimmy thinks Jacob Lusk's sartorial misstep last night could lead him out the door.  His prediction is that Jacob's foot is precariously placed on a banana peel the exact color of that ugly shirt he wore last night.  But, though it comes down to Jacob and Casey, who Jimmy had early predicted would be safe, it is Jacob who is off to Top 5 status.

And with that the second Vote for the Worst pick is eliminated.  Casey Abrams is no more.  He does one more self-indulgent, grunt-filled performance and is once again treated like the second coming.  But, at least it turns out that the voting public didn't fall for it.  

Now, I'm sure many of you are expecting me to dance on Casey Abrams' AI grave, something akin to how I reacted to the elimination of Court Jester Paul McDonald.  But those two guys are very different.  Paul is a 27-year-old grown up with an extensive body of work behind him who took to the Idol stage like the comedy relief between acts at the Apollo.  He should have been followed on stage by someone wielding a broom -- it was ridiculous, from his neon outfits to his barely croaked-out vocals.

Casey is just 19, an only child of much older parents, raised among the NPR listening, tree hugging, jazz music loving people of Idyllwild, California.  Of course, he's going to bring out a stand up bass and try scatting, I'm sure it makes his parents beam with pride.  My problem with Casey Abrams has always been with the judges who have created a monster, showering him with undeserved adulation and never giving him any realistic critiques.  They saved him when they should have listened to America and instead, like a drunk's enabler offering DUI bail money, continued to tell him that every off-putting thing he did was magical.  The grunting, the lumbering menacingly around the stage, the crazed serial killer looks, the enraged teeth baring all while talk-shouting through songs...not once did they suggest those were not great artistic choices.

Is Casey Abrams this talented musician he's been touted to be?  Perhaps.  But what he turned into on the show was a psychotic Jack Black ramping up the creepiness factor in his performances week after week.  And why not?  He was getting praise and attention for it.  So I will say that I wish him well.  I hope he can go back to focusing on what it is about music that he loves and not what it is about being in the limelight that he craves. 


  1. Once, in the olden days, you officially declared: "To the Anons, I wish you guys didn't post as Anon! I'd love to know who said what! I love your comments!!" So, those among us with moxy, we labeled ourselves. But sometimes, not even that was enough. "rar, wish I knew who you were because I'd thank you for your support." Yeah, anonymity is fun, you 50+ year-old married-yet-slightly-chunky ex-Jewish poker-analyzing Angeleno mother with an Objectivist bar card who likes KROQ, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Letterman, SNL, yelling at the television, and the mute button. :) What else? Oh, this: "You know what a caring soul I am, especially during my Idol blogs. Hey, I'm supposed to be snarky. Where are the sucky contestants? If it were me, I'd be feeling a bit more "suck it America," but then I'm old and bitter. What should I make of the fact that the first two moved on to the top ten are country singers? I'm a little afraid. Hold me."
    ~ ~ ~
    Yes, I can read. Here, I found this tidbit you once leveled at hapless Casey Abrams: "I love the sound of his voice." My my my, how your tone has changed! You've also stated the following:
    ~ ~ ~
    ** I'm feeling a little smug. So this is how Casey Abrams feels all the time. Nice. Someone has patted him on the head one too many times. Why do people who sing jazz seem so arrogant to me? It's like they're saying, "Yeah, I could just sing a melody, but that's for slackers. Let me riff for an hour, to show how awesome I am." He looks like what he's doing should be amazing, and somehow he makes you believe it. He is the guy who will cure cancer with just his voice, at least according to the judges. That is what the pop charts are desperate for, a great upright bass player. American Idol is certainly keyed into what's hot now. Poor non-upright-bass-playing Bruno Mars, his career is so over. Casey Abrams is the president and CEO of the Casey Abrams fan club. I want to put my foot through his face. **
    ~ ~ ~
    Now, at long last, we can finally stop trying to understand Casey Abrams. "No stool for you", Vanity Smurf.

  2. Now, about Jacob, you have stated the following:
    ~ ~ ~
    ** Jacob sounded possessed and was spewing random guttural sounds, like Linda Blair projecting pea soup. He looked terrified, perhaps because he could hear himself. It would take him five days, an oxygen tank, and a blood transfusion to get through the Star Spangled Banner. He is physically incapable of singing the original melody and all songwriters should sue him for nonsupport. He always sounds like he's underwater, and you never know if he's going to over-sing or sing like he's giving birth to a VW bus without anesthetics. Jacob, as if singing just to me, chooses "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word". When he sings "What do I have to do to make you love me?" I yell at my TV screen, "Stop singing." Jacob didn't try to swallow the audience, so for him that amounts to a good performance. **
    ~ ~ ~
    Once some Lusk is flushed into the rainy streets (to be fair, his "God Bless The Child" was brilliant), what are you gonna do to make us laugh/think?
    ~ ~ ~
    Considering the choirs, spotlights, and ego-lickings he's enjoyed courtesy of the 3 Complimenteers, I believe that TPTB have been trying to keep a black person around for as long as possible, just like last season, so that they might keep the hip-hop/R&B voters around for as long as possible, and to also not be accused of the racism left hanging around from 7 years ago. Likewise, I believe the country voters are such a strong voting bloc this year that TPTB steered Crystal's performance in that direction so as to pander to them, too. BTW SG, FYI IMHO, any live performance of Farmer's Daughter obliterates her studio recording of that song. It's not a lousy recording, but she just Cooks when performing for crowds. Do you smell what the Sox is cooking? Smelling Sox. Yes, Mamasox is a much better moniker.
    ~ ~ ~
    Super-long comments Rock!

  3. I was disappointed. Yes, Casey goes a little overboard with the growling unless he is pointedly told to watch it. And the scary faces honestly made me laugh more than frightened me. But he was the only contestant this season who's record I would buy. The intricacies of what he does musically were incredible. His note/tone/pitch placement choices were brilliant. Reminded me of Peter Cincotti (another guy not too many people know, but should! Jazz/Jazz-Pop, worked with David Foster,Amazing.)

  4. And if you've never heard Peter Cincotti, you need to.... This vid has a good selection of clips from his latest album. Fantastic pianist/musician/songwriter.