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AI - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Well, I'm watching my tape of the show. I have to say, I'm disappointed at how they're praising Chris for doing the same shtick every week. Isn't the whole point of theme weeks to push people out of their comfort zones and see how they do when asked to stretch? Try out new forms and see how they fit? I mean, his performances are consistently good for what he does, but it feels like he's cheating a little, not bothering to try anything new, just boxing himself into this one style and being unwilling to be open to anything else, and I don't know if he's capable of doing anything else. One of the reasons I like Paris is that she does something different every week and always manages to nail it. Chris does one thing really well; others do several things really well. So why is he getting all kinds of kudos for not even trying to stretch? I mean, as a writer, I don't like writing in first person present tense, but if the story requires it, I do it. I think I have something of a distinctive style, but I would hope that it doesn't drown out the actual stories, and that I'll use the voice that's right for the story when it comes along and not insist on doing some hyper-stylized gimmick writing whether it fits the story or not.


(I will say, Barry Manilow should be their full time vocal coach. Dude. This guy can teach. And the '50s? Best music ever. :) )
16 comments or Leave a comment
buongiornodaisy From: buongiornodaisy Date: March 22nd, 2006 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Simon's comment confused me, too. Not compromising is commendable and all, but, as you said, isn't it the point of the themes to show how versatile these singers are?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 22nd, 2006 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
That's what I thought. Then again, there's a contrary movement that does fetishize individual style over artistic demands, and sticking to one thing against all song clues is thought of as a good thing--integrity, as opposed to rigidity, with versatility being seen as selling out rather than being vocally agile.
buongiornodaisy From: buongiornodaisy Date: March 22nd, 2006 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. You can be flexible without being rigid. I think Fantasia did that really well in season 3, and I think Paris is doing it well this season. I'm not sure about Taylor Hicks. He might just be exceptionally good at picking out songs in any format that work for him.
riah_chan From: riah_chan Date: March 22nd, 2006 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I love Barry Manilow... I remember back in season 3 when he worked with the contestants... I still love John Stevens' rendition of 'Mandy' from that show. And '50's music is the most fun.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 22nd, 2006 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)
It's embarrassing to say now, but "Copa Cabana" was my first favorite song. I made my mother leave the car running until it finished one night when I went to work with her (and I think she was running late, so points for putting up with a pushy six-year-old).

There's good music in any era, but the '50s had so much fun stuff, and stuff that's good for singing along with it.
pathstotread From: pathstotread Date: March 22nd, 2006 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Totally agree about Chris. The funny thing is someone at TWoP mentioned that Live has a version of "I Walk the Line" on their greatest hits album and that Chris's performance was very similar to that version. So it's not even like he's taking these great songs and making them fit his little box (which would be bad enough), he's copying other artists' interpretations of songs (like he did last week with "Higher Ground"). Great voice, but no originality.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 22nd, 2006 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Oddly, I'm not surprised. It's probably in the collection of music he listens to. He says on the website that he's had no training, and one of the things you miss by missing training is exposure to lots of different forms, and that means that there's nothing kicking around to synthesize when it comes time to create your own style.
arclevel From: arclevel Date: March 22nd, 2006 04:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I was mostly startled at their praise of Ace this week. I like Ace -- I really *loved* the version of Father Figure he did a few weeks ago -- but I thought he was awful. He sounded off-key for part of it, his voice was kind of weak, and the falsetto just didn't sound good (but then, I think falsettos almost never sound good).

I'm also surprised that they *haven't* really liked Lisa lately. I thought she was very good this week, though probably not brilliant. Last week, though, I actually watched AI with my dad, who'd never seen it before -- and who doesn't like Stevie Wonder. The only performance he really liked, and my favorite also, was Lisa. He thought Bucky was pretty good also. So, of course, both of them were in the bottom three.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 22nd, 2006 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I just heard Ace, and I agree... not really that good. Not annoying the same way Chris was, but yeah--definitely not a great performance.
From: acony_bell Date: March 22nd, 2006 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you about Chris.

My main ire stems from the fact that everyone seems to love Kellie Pickler, and I can't stand her.

"Oh, look at me! I'm just a poor little country girl with a sob story. Do you see how cute I am? Dumb as a box of nails, but I sure am purty!"
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 22nd, 2006 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't stand her, either. She can sing, but the dumb-as-grass act and the irritating sob story put me off her back in the audition shows.
buongiornodaisy From: buongiornodaisy Date: March 22nd, 2006 06:18 am (UTC) (Link)
It sounds incredibly mean, but she makes George W. Bush look smart. AUGH I just do not like her.
mamadeb From: mamadeb Date: March 22nd, 2006 05:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I spent my teenage years in the late seventies in New Jersey. Therefore, I loved Barry. That was the rule, and I happily followed it.

When I see him, I immediately turn into a fourteen year old fangirl. I am unashamed. He has earned this, I think. He knows who his audience is, and he makes them feel good - and entertained. I've read several articles by people who go to his performances expecting to have something to snark about, and not finding it.

And I know it was all edited, but if what they showed was at all accurate, the man can teach - he's unafraid of either praise or criticism, and he knows about performing. Yes, the show would be better if he could stay around.

(And I love the way Chris rocks, but, yeah. Try something different.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 22nd, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
And I know it was all edited, but if what they showed was at all accurate, the man can teach

Obviously, they showed the interesting parts, but the proof was in the performances that came after it. Most of them were a lot better this week, and this was the first time I've seen Kevin Covais and thought he deserved a vote for being good instead of for being comic relief.
mamadeb From: mamadeb Date: March 22nd, 2006 06:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
He really did, and it all does go to Barry - who told him to sing as if, well, he were a 16-year-old who had never fallen in love but is fantasizing about it. That is - appropriate to who he was.

(Deleted comment)
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