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American Idol - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
American Idol
I don't know why they do a country night, with Simon around. He loathes all the songs, no matter what.

Anyway, subject shift... first Barry Manilow, now Kenny Rogers--it's like a hit parade of my early favorite song singers. (Forget "The Gambler"; I was a "Coward of the County" girl.) Unfortunately, Taylor Hicks slaughtered one of my early favorite songs. I'm currently listening to the John Denver version of "Take Me Home, Country Roads" to get that horrid thing out of my head.

One thing I've liked with both the Manilow and Rogers segments is that they're shown doing actual teaching and giving actual sound advice. I love Simon, but "I hate the song" isn't actual advice. "You tend to oversing; pull back and let the song talk" is.

Oh, and Chris did a boring song, but I'm giving him real points for finally leaving his comfort zone... and he wasn't half-bad.

My bottom three prediction: Elliot, Ace, Bucky
If there were justice to the voting and it had anything to do with quality, my predictions would be: Ace, Taylor, and (though it pains me to say it because I like her) Mandisa. But Elliot and Bucky aren't popular--one in a "no one remembers his name" way and the other in a "get that guy off the screen" way--so I think they'll be in the bottom three.

Soundtrack: An Evening With John Denver

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Comments
riah_chan From: riah_chan Date: April 5th, 2006 03:00 am (UTC) (Link)
(Being on the west coast, I haven't seen this yet...)

I love counry music and I wish they would stop doing county night... the people who do country already do country and the people who don't get it just don't get it. And Simon is totally lame at judging country. Country night just makes me mad at him.
riah_chan From: riah_chan Date: April 5th, 2006 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm now listening to Taylor and am very sad... :( I love this song but that wasn't good.

(Unrelated but you might like this movie.)
arclevel From: arclevel Date: April 5th, 2006 11:54 am (UTC) (Link)

Miscellaneous AI thoughts

I've never been a fan of either Kenny Rogers or Barry Manilow -- despite being named after "Mandy" -- but you're right; they're both great teachers. I really liked that Rogers' comments in the interview bits were more substantive than, "Oh, I really like _____. S/he's got such (a) great voice/passion/sweetness/power."

This is at least the second week in a row where most of the performances have, at best, bored me. I definitely think I preferred the stage of the competition where they sang what they wanted, rather than trying to sing something they don't know or don't like. A number of them who are normally very good did horribly last night. Taylor, of course. I thought Paris was pretty bad, too, actually.

The other problem with this stage of the competition is the audience booing every single time a judge says something negative, no matter how mild or how well deserved. Obnoxious and deeply boring.

The judges seem to be absolutely in love with Elliot, and I can't figure out why. He's not bad, but he's not great, either. Mostly pretty boring. And Ace isn't the best singer, but I like him overall -- until he goes into that falsetto that Paula adores. Not quite nails on a blackboard, but close.
leapin_jot From: leapin_jot Date: April 5th, 2006 01:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Miscellaneous AI thoughts

I agree that the booing is obnoxious, and so is the extended applause when Randy is trying to speak.

Rogers and Manilow have been the highlight of this season to me because I really enjoy watching the process of vetting and preparing a song. That is SO MUCH better than the sappy stories that the contestants are otherwise forced to tell. I really do think that it is interesting to see how they change the songs around, and it helps me appreciate the performances that much more.

I really don't get why Paula and Randy go on about the Falsetto, and how can that be anyone's thing? Sometimes I think the judges do more harm than good.

I liked Paris. I thought it was nice to see her tone it down a bit. Again, I disagree with Paula because I don't think that Paris always has to do something young and energetic, but apparently I'm a bad judge because even a DJ on the radio this morning put Paris in the bottom three. I suppose she could have put more feeling into it??

I didn't like Bucky's song at all. I have been rather surprised that he's lasted this long.

I can't even guess who the bottom three will be, because if it goes by best/worst songs this week it would be Taylor and Mandisa, but I doubt that will happen?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 5th, 2006 02:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Miscellaneous AI thoughts

I liked Paris, actually--it's surprised me that there's been negative response to her.

I definitely think I preferred the stage of the competition where they sang what they wanted, rather than trying to sing something they don't know or don't like. A number of them who are normally very good did horribly last night.

But the point of the theme weeks is to get them out of their ruts and show whether or not they're more than "one-trick ponies"--in other words, whether or not they're actually serious about singing, or just want to be stars. The singer who can access the tropes of several genres is always better than the one who just has total tunnel vision. The latter doesn't have anything to draw on when it comes to creating his or her own style. He'll always be derivative, because the essence of creativity is new and interesting synthesis. And, yeah, some weeks will show strengths in one sort of contestant and weaknesses in another, but that's part of the game.
arclevel From: arclevel Date: April 6th, 2006 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Miscellaneous AI thoughts

I get the idea of the theme nights, and it's a very good idea, but thus far I think every single contestant impressed me more before they got to this stage, even in the weeks that ought to be their strengths. (I should note, if i haven't before, that this is the first season I've followed; before this I've only seen a couple scattered episodes.)

It probably doesn't help that of the four theme weeks they've had thus far, I'm not a big fan of the music of any of them. There are individual songs from each that I like, but the contestants actually sang only a couple of those. I had high hopes for contemporary music week, since I actually started listening to the radio recently. I'd only heard two of them before and didn't think either was done very well. They just announced that next week is Queen, who were my absolute favorite band for a few years, so I have high hopes for that.
From: acony_bell Date: April 5th, 2006 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't like country night. If I wanted to hear everyone sing country, I'd watch Nashville Star.

As much as I like Mandisa, she chose a song that had way too many words... it didn't work for her.

Everyone bored me last night... when did they all get to be so mediocre?
leapin_jot From: leapin_jot Date: April 5th, 2006 01:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have this theory about these type of reality shows where there's an extended contest, like Project Runway for example. There seems to be three cycles:

early--I'm the best, watch me win
middle--I'm here, let me stay here or I'm too tired to do anything original
late--Nothing left to lose, I'm putting it all on the line.

AI is definitely in middle territory!
merlinssister12 From: merlinssister12 Date: April 5th, 2006 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think American Idol has finally run its course. This season has been sooo boring. I like Kenny Rogers and Barry Manilow, and they do offer up the contestants good advice, but this batch of contestants just seem so drab and dull. I like Trevor 'cause his performances are usually good for a laugh, and Mandisa and Paris are usually quite good, but there has just been something lacking, and Simon has got to find something to say other than "poor song choice." If it was just poor song choices why don't they limit the contestants choices more.
Well I can't vote anyway so I'm thinking of just giving up on the whole thing and watching Gilmore Girls or NCIS instead.
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