Archive for the ‘David Archuleta’ Category

Forget singers — ‘American Idol’s’ worst false notes were from judges, Ryan

March 12, 2008

OK, it’s off our oft-beaten blog path (though AI DVDs do exist), but since no other blogger I’ve read —  even EW.com — has nailed last night’s show for its most glaring glitches, I’ll haveta do it. I mean, wake up, world!

Let’s forget singers for a moment and focus on the true unhinged star of last night’s Beatles-themed show: the production itself. Idol seemed to be having an anxiety attack–and it stressed me out just watching it. This was the most overheated, overhyped, oversold mess of an Idol show ever. And sitting through it was a — well, rhymes with “pitch.”

Ryan, for one, seemed more guilty of medication-induced hysterical behaviour than Paula’s ever been. I mean, what was this guy on, anyway? The strongest Jolt Cola imaginable, I suppose. He was, in a word, outtacontrol.

Most painful was his sudden and forced vaudevillian act with poor, compliant Chikezie, who’d just knocked it out of the park with his outta-nowhere She’s a Woman — a bit too rushed-tempo for my tastes, but still the night’s best number –and seconds later winds up playing shamelessly hammy Cuba Jr. opposite Ryan’s shamelessly hammy Cruise Outtacontrol, in a furiously unfunny and demeaning parody of Jerry Maguire and a certain Oscar acceptance speech.

Uh, Ryan, could you kindly–well, stuff it? That was horrible. And that was Chikezie’s moment, not yours.

Then, the judges.

Now wait — they’ve actually been entertaining as hell at times this season, staging a good-natured show in themselves. But last night they were lost in a bizarre land of make-believe, with comments sounding as false and preordained as the judges’ on Dancing With the Stars, who often evoke Soviet Union Olympics officials who once dictated a key basketball game go their way, no matter what.

Simon, for one, wasn’t being lazy or sloppy when he asked what “the Irish girl’s” name was. He knows damn well. She’s been in Idol’s sights since long before the regional auditions for this season even began, given her established history in the music business. And after months of seeing THE TOP WOMAN SINGER OF THE SEASON perform, no, I don’t buy it that Simon doesn’t even know her name. That was a lie. What I DO buy is that Idol knows it’s getting bad press for what it has done. It knows that after the season of Sanjaya and a winner who hasn’t measured up to true Idol stars (you know who they are), this goldmine of a talent show has its cred at stake. So it’s stacked the deck with show-biz veterans who are, in effect, getting a second or last chance via the big show’s big stage and big viewership. And Carly leads that list. So to overcompensate and play dumb, Simon insultingly feigns ignorance with, “I don’t really know who that Irish girl is — that girl who somehow slipped into this without any active help from us. She’s just another contestant.” Riiiight. And if you buy that, I’ve got a bridge to Looney Land to sell ya.

Then, all three judges HAMMERED  little Ramiele as if she was the WORST SINGER OF THE NIGHT — and she wasn’t, not by a longshot. Yet they all piled on, with even forgiveness-hound Paula in lockstep. Could it be, faithful readers, that those running this show want Ramiele out? Hmmmmm . . . I wonder.

Trouble is, she delivered. She sang one of the night’s best songs, In My Life (sadly, the joyous but slight early Beatles hits didn’t fly), giving it soulful substance and hardly missing a note. So what was going on here? She wasn’t that bad — in fact, she was good, and enormously better than last week — yet she was ripped apart by judges as if she’d been channeling a bad poser at a karaoke bar on a cruise ship in a wedding party. (Citing venues is such fierce criticism.)

So Bruce, you may ask. Why did they jump up and down on poor Ramiele while wearing combat boots? Easy enough. After singing a lovely song worth a sniffle, she was enduring the judges’ fury for someone else, not her. She was the whipping-girl target for this show’s loathing of her recently departed best bud on the program: Danny. Call it taking punishment by proxy — nor did it help that Ramiele clearly dedicated her song to Danny boy.

He, of course, indulged his inner-diss throughout his stormy stay, mocking  judges and showing contempt for the process like the emotional 8-year-old he is. This guy has a lot of growing up to do, to put it mildly, and that’s one comment Simon failed to make. Heck, with better advice — and behaviour — Danny might have stuck. But now he’s gone, leaving Ramiele in the lurch to get dumped on by the same judges he taunted (still taunts?), as if to say, “Enjoy this, Danny — and you can’t say a word back to us on-screen this time!” I’m telling you, those barbs heaped on Ramiele were vengeance against Danny, not genuine disgust at her far-better-than-several-others’ singing last night. Now what was that mantra: Remember, this is a talent competition!

Meanwhile, whiskey-voiced one-trick-pony Amanda gets another free pass, despite the fact that the true female rocker on this show is — oh, what’s her name? Carla? Carrie? I forget. And David Archuleta gets criticized (well, duh), but not nearly as much as he should have been, given his absolutely disastrous finale of We Can Work It Out — which he didn’t. I’ve loved his vocals up to this week — loved them — but this was about as bad as it gets, especially losing the lyrics so many times. Of course, he’s safe anyway, and this fall-back allows him now to step up without looking like Idol’s pre-ordained winner, as he did in week one. In fact, the whole thing was probably a setup, come to think of it, given this show’s falseness on other fronts and its need for seeming to be an open and fair competition. Sure, you get to vote, but it’s still a setup. Idol’s got too many superdelegates behind its scenes.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love music, and I love Idol. Wouldn’t miss it. But something truly weird and whack and off and desperate was going on last night, beyond all those godblessem singing wannabes. Going to the big stage, we got the big hype and the big oversell, along with blindingly glaring insincerity. And why? Perhaps smarting from losing a few million viewers (though still easily atop the ratings), Idol is getting insecure. Like a guy in his 30s who starts going bald, or an actor who starts jumping on couches, this show is overcompensating with elaborate comb-overs. All it really needs to do is back off, ease up and just let it be.