Thursday, March 22, 2012

Billy Joel Week: "I don't even know if he's Asian."

So last night was Billy Joel Idol, which is sort of hilarious because you know that 90% of this season’s children couldn’t name a Billy Joel song to save their lives. “What’s this music we’re singing again? The stuff that used to play on those things my parents call cassette tapes? William Jewel, you say? He was in the Beatles, right?” Thank Billy Idol that Billy Joel’s music is so adaptable. Someone has to teach the young Idol hatchlings about life, and no one does it like a sadistic singing competition.

Yes, Idol wanted the kids to learn last night. Tommy Hilfiger needed to teach them how to dress, whether they liked it or not. P. Diddy (Puff Daddy) had to instruct them on how to groove and not suck so much. Jimmy Iovine continued to teach them that no career can launch in the music business without being publicly humiliated and led astray by an overgrown man-boy in a baseball hat. Billy Joel taught them about life through music – not example. Billy Joel’s example is bad. Above all, the judges got to teach some tough love. ESPECIALLY Uncle Steven. Who is the undead pirate sitting next to J. Lo these days? I don’t even KNOW him anymore. Randy wore a new pin, and my eyes tell me it’s an actual RANDY JACKSON pin with green stuff on the face?  This show is so damn weird.

Evil Randy Jackson wearing green-tinted sunglasses, maybe?

Hey! Remember when J. Lo and P. Diddy (Puff Daddy) were an item? Hollywood’s such a small, small world. I hope they still get along. Maybe meet for lunch once or twice a year. Talk about the kids, the gremlin J. Lo just divorced. Think about youth and 90s things. I bet their lunch dates are really interesting. I bet THEY know some Billy Joel songs. J. Lo’s a Bronx girl, after all. Bronx? Brooklyn? Manhattan? I think Bronx. And you know that little Jessica Sanchez and Hollie Cavanaugh are still like, “The F is Billy Joel?” THIS … is American Idol!

Your Top 10

DeAndre Brackensick – “Only the Good Die Young”
Tommy Hilfiger proved how “helpful” he would be right off the bat. He instructed DeAndre to let his hair down (which, duh!) and then told him that he needs to lay claim to a specific style. Apparently, that meant wearing a snow vest in a Los Angeles studio. Tommy Hilfiger: Dressing sad people in boring clothes since whenever. Jimmy and Diddy wanted DeAndre to have fun with the song, way more fun than a teenager singing Billy Joel should have. So DeAndre, God bless his naïve little heart, went out on stage and bopped around and had a grand old time. Vocally, he sounded solid. Performance-wise, DeAndre’s interpretation was like a vat of Velveeta. The judges gave DeAndre nice feedback, likely not because of his snow vest and maniacal grinning but because he was performing in the First Spot of Death and didn’t smash his face in with the microphone.

Erika Van Pelt – “New York State of Mind”
I love a televised makeover. Don’t get me wrong, Dawgs. What Not To Wear can be emotional therapy for me on slow days. But did Erika really NEED a makeover? She always looks so beautiful and knows how to dress like an adult. I don’t understand why Tommy desired a change. Granted, Erika’s hair-cut turned out very cute. The color, however, sort of made her look like Veronica: Princess of Darkness. Just being brutally honest, here. A little color cut into the black would have been fine, but now all I can envision is spritely Hollie hiding in the Idol mansion from Veronica: Princess of Darkness. During her mentoring session, Jimmy and Diddy basically told Erika not to try so hard. Erika, like DeAndre, takes every bit of advice given to her, so it was no surprise when she took the stage with a solid yet conservative version of “New York State of Mind.” I personally didn’t mind the performance. I think she remained faithful to Billy Joel’s version and sounded beautiful while doing it. Unfortunately, the judges have the collective attention span of a single pea and require fireworks and booms and bangs to give a performance effusive praise. Randy basically told Erika to stop listening to Jimmy Iovine, which is always good advice in my opinion. But she should not, in any way, transfer her trust to Randy Jackson. That way leads to heartache.

Joshua Ledet – “She’s Got a Way”
Were we supposed to take interest in the exchange between Joshua and Tommy about the way the former wears his suits a size small to achieve a fitted look? If a Tommy Hilfiger collapsed in the woods, would anybody care? Full disclosure, here: I freaking love Joshua Ledet. I love the way his speaking voice is practically unintelligible. I love the way he still craves crawfish from home. I love that he knows how to wear a suit without needing Tommy Hilfiger to instruct him. Above all, I love his straight-out-of-church, shake you to your core voice. Unlike the judges, I thought that Joshua’s performance was lovely. He tried to hold in all the awesomeness in the beginning, but when the Giant Idol Screen of Over-Ambitious Graphics opened and presented a GOSPEL CHOIR (Hallelujah!), Joshua let it all loose. He’s a delightful young man. Simply delightful. J. Lo wasn’t as pleased because she thought Joshua didn’t “feel” the music the way Billy Joel felt it. Or something. I don’t even know. I sure HOPE Joshua doesn’t “feel” music the way that Billy Joel does. Awesome or not, Billy Joel has a few issues, to say the least.

Skylar Laine – “Shameless”
Her boots. Tommy Hilfiger fixated on her love for cowboy boots during their entire conversation. She needed to play up those boots, he insisted, with all sorts of fashion. Naturally, Skylar ended up taking the stage in … black high heels. So we spent all that time on the boots for what? What happened to the boots? Whatevs. Don’t judge me, but I’m pretty sure I blacked out during the first half of Skylar Laine’s performance. All I really remember is the assembly of awkward teenage boys who clapped off the beat while Skylar posed on the stairs. First, I know, they found teenage boys in the Idol audience. But second, apparently Skylar was a bit off in the first part? Or so I heard. It doesn’t matter to me because she truly soared in the chorus. Why do we all keep forgetting what a powerhouse this girl is? Her voice can be boundless when she really lets it go. Skylar Laine makes me believe in country music. Like, before she came on the show, I kind of believed that country music was a myth, an old wives’ tale that Froggy 98 kept trying to convince me was real. But no. Skylar Laine has proven that country music exists for real.

Elise Testone- “Vienna”
I think that Tommy Hilfiger was trying to let Elise know that she’s a bit of a fashion wreck. Despite my general feelings of contempt for you, Tommy, I can’t disagree with that. When he asked her to remove the multiple layers of clothes she wore over her perfectly fine dress, it was like watching someone open a box with an endless series of smaller boxes within. I need to know why anyone would wear such a heavy scarf in Los Angeles. Sure, Uncle Steven wears scarves all the time because undead pirates are freezing due to their lack of blood circulation. But Elise Testone is fully alive. There’s no need for all those layers. I feel really sorry for Elise. Not because of her performance, which was nuts of wonderful levels of stunning, but because she’ll probably still end up in the bottom 3 this week. America probably noticed that Elise knows what a Billy Joel is and dismissed her in exchange for one of her fresh-out-of-diapers competitors. Elise deserved every second of her standing ovation from the audience and judges last night. Her voice was flawless throughout, and I still can’t get over that one run at the end. Her control actually makes me jealous. How horrible am I to suggest that if Elise transplanted her voice to one of her adorably weepy students, that creature would annihilate the competition? Think about it. I cannot tell a lie.

Phillip Phillips Jr. – “Movin’ Out”
Sweet, adorable Phil is holding onto his soul SO HARD right now. He will resist Idol’s every attempt to commercialize him! Tommy Hilfiger was like, “Stop looking so scruffy, and gray is the worst. Stop wearing gray.” In response, Phil wore gray on gray to the performance show. During his mentoring session, Diddy forced Phil to get his groove on and presumably conjure the powers to seduce ladies through a TV screen. He also made Phil put down his guitar. There was a really awkward moment in which Diddy made Phil sing to a group of ladies, and I’m pretty sure everyone left the room feeling a little dirtier for it. Especially Phil. In response to that, Phil took the stage with his guitar and let his voice do the seducing. I liked the performance. Phil’s cool confidence is refreshing. It’s so rare to find a real artist on Idol who is unconcerned with fame. Phil’s indifference to the game adds to his appeal tenfold. If he realizes this and is exploiting this indifference to win votes, then he is an evil genius. The judges pretty much celebrated Phil’s stubbornness. Considering that they have occupied vastly different opinion sets than Iovine all season, this didn’t surprise me.

Hollie Cavanaugh – “Honesty”
Can we drop all pretenses now and just call Hollie what she really is, a fairy? She LOVES sparkles, for crying out loud. Something tells me that when she thinks no one’s watching, she floats instead of walks. Tommy told her that she needs to dress a little younger, which was a little insensitive considering that he was speaking to a 5,000 year-old mystical fae creature. The cropped top and high-waisted pants she ended up wearing for the performance weren’t very youthful, either, so I’m not sure if Tommy has no pull with the contestants or is just stupid. Probably a bit of both. Poor Hollie really struggled last night. I’m not sure if she got psyched out during her mentoring session or if she truly didn’t know the song very well. Whatever happened, she was painfully off the melody in parts. The judges hated to admit it. I felt the entire world dim a bit as Hollie’s innate luminescent glow dimmed from the criticism. She’ll do better next week. If there IS a next week. (There will be.)

Heejun Han – “My Life”
Oh, fiddlesticks. Heejun! I know that people who take Idol and its contestants seriously have probably had it up to HERE with Mr. Han’s antics. I’ll even admit that he’s become a caricature of his quirky self. But come ON! Did you see what he did last night? Awfultastic or not, that performance was a menagerie of crazy that only Idol can supply. He spent his interview with Tommy Hilfiger saying he wanted to dress like Jessica Sanchez, Madonna, and Michael Bolton. Then he occupied his mentoring session talking all kinds of nonsense until Diddy couldn’t tell up from down anymore. Did we expect anything else from his performance than that strange false start in which Heejun proclaimed, “I wanna dance!” and stripped off his suit jacket? Wearing every color of the rainbow, Heejun ran around the stage, sang to the judges about not caring for their opinions, and totally devoted himself to making America’s head spin. And nuts of wonder, Uncle Steven was PISSED. Did you see how pissed he was? You’d think that a man who speaks into a microphone adorned with random flowers would have more appreciation for the absurd, but nope. He told Heejun that the music industry would kick his ass because he refused to take it seriously. LOL, Uncle Steven. The music industry will kick Heejun’s ass because he’s on American Idol. His crazy antics are just an extra bonus for the viewing audience. Should Heejun stay on the show after that performance? No. But will he? Probably. And since this is Idol, I just have to laugh about it.

Jessica Sanchez – “Everybody Has a Dream”
Tommy Hilfiger told 16-year-old Jessica to show some more leg. And Uncle Steven thinks Heejun is a disgrace to the show? During the mentoring session, Diddy told Jessica that he didn’t believe what she was singing. So then we all had to pretend that Jessica proved she could sing with enough emotion to make Diddy and America believe. It was very exhausting. But how about that vocal performance? Teen-bot or not, Jessica kicked that song’s ass all over the stage. Pitch perfect and beautiful range on display, Jessica definitely rebounded from her misstep last week. Do I believe what she’s singing? Not really. But then again, I’m just a cranky Idol blogger with the extra time to analyze these things. Jessica can’t really help it if her only life experience comes from dragging her family around America to different singing competitions. Her voice is still beautiful.

Colton Dixon – “Piano Man”
SOMEONE is touchy about his ugly skunk hair. He actually called that mass of human fur atop his head his “baby.” Ew, Colton. Insight is definitely needed in this situation. But let’s talk about how Mr. Whiny McEmoPants made a move on Phil Phillips’ claim to this year’s Idol title. Anyone who remembers Kris Allen (remember him?) can’t deny that America has a soft spot for sensitive boys breaking down sensitive songs at the piano. And despite my hate/hate relationship with Colton’s tone, I actually enjoyed this performance. He’s still a Grade A douche to me, but that was a lovely arrangement of the one Billy Joel song that everybody knows. I was a little surprised when the judges failed to give Colton a standing ovation. They used to eat up stuff like that. Doesn’t matter, though. Thousands of pre-teen hearts melted during that performance, and now young girls will be pursuing other young boys with bad hair. The future does not bode well for us.

My Predictions
I think Erika’s in trouble. It isn’t fair, but her appearance in the Bottom 3 so often doesn’t lend much hope. We’ll throw Heejun and Elise in the Bottom 3, too, but I’m always so wrong about these things. I wouldn’t bet on my predictions. Perhaps they’ll use the Judges’ Save tonight! Oh, my! It’s like the drama is ACTUALLY WRITTEN INTO THE SHOW.

Who were your favorites last night, Dawgs? Who do you think will go home? Any theories on Randy’s pin? I still think it’s a pin of his face. Randy Jackson is the only person on earth who would wear a Randy Jackson pin. Proven fact.

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