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American Idol, Week 8: Strange Votesby Dana Walker -- 08/04/2002
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The cheesy attempts at guffaws have hit an all-time low in tonight's introduction when the Briyans show the audience a simulated beach shot of Simon in an American Idol t-shirt, striking the stereotypical body builder pose. Funny AND oh-so clever. Take this act on the road, seriously.
They get around to mentioning that tonight's theme is "Songs From the 70s," then continue blathering… something about pork rinds and tighty-whiteys. Oh no, stop it before I laugh so hard that Coca-Cola sprays through my nose on to my Ford Focus!
Bring out the kids. Introduce the judges. "The only one of the Jacksons who still has his original nose, Randy Jackson." Guys, please! My sides hurt!
"The bold and the beautiful Paula Abdul." Bold about what? Being less objective about these kids' performances than their own mothers?
"The Prince of Darkness himself - Simon Cowell." My sarcasm allotment has been exceeded for this segment, so I'll move on.
The kids spent the week doing a photo shoot for US Weekly magazine. They dress up; they pose; they look cute. Nothing ground breaking here.
Nikki McKibbin is the first performer tonight. The video clip of Nikki with the Us Weekly photographer before she "sings" shows us her "sweet, shy" side. (Is that the side that can actually sing? No? Oh, okay.) She chooses "Heartbreaker" (Pat Benatar, not Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones). She shouts through it, altering the melody to suit her five-note-holler-range, then attempts the high note at the end…(cringe)… and the note she manages to warble out is so thin you could line a birdcage with it. (I'll leave out the myriad comments about bird crap that suddenly come to mind.) But I'm sure the judges won't agree, because when Nikki takes the stage, they suddenly turn a collective deaf ear. (As always, these are not direct quotes, they are summaries of the judges' statements.)
Randy: Love the outfit, love the hair, and I think you're more in your element now. (Sure says a lot about her talent, doesn't he?)
Paula: Week to week you've been finding your own path. You're taking risks, but they're not really risks because it shows who you are. Congratulations. (My interpretation of that is - "I'm not willing to abandon my 'nice guy' image and say anything constructive because it might affect my future album sales.")
Simon: Nikki, Paula said that you've changed so much over the weeks. This is a problem because we are here today to find the best undiscovered talent. We have very good singers here; the competition really kicks off tonight. That was a copycat performance. It wasn't good enough, and you will not win the show. (Almost the voice of reason, Simon, but… copycat of whom? Pat Benatar? HARDLY. The only thing that comes to my mind that she may have copied is Ryan Starr's horrendous display from last week.)
So Nikki joins the Briyans. Our host conglomeration consoles Nikki while giving Simon the now patented "How dare you!" scowl. Nikki whines something like, "Well, I don't know how it could be a copycat performance. I've never even heard that song until three days ago." Simon responds, "I just don't think you're that undiscovered talent," and the chipper cheerleader herself interjects, "Nikki - America decides that." (Paula states the obvious.)
During the commercial break, there is the best commercial my roommate and I have ever seen. There's a hot guy dancing around in his boxer briefs looking like he just won the lottery and wouldn't have to pay taxes on the winnings. I mean, seriously, no one has ever been as happy as this guy is. Turns out it's a commercial for a new line of boxer briefs being sold at Kmart, of all things. (Didn't they go bankrupt?) My roommate would like to have this guy delivered to our apartment, please. We have a cot set up for him in the living room, so someone send him out here ASAP. Thanks.
Back to the show. "Brace yourself for the unstoppable force that is - Ryan Starr." (Unstoppable force? What is she, a tornado? Who writes this garbage?) In her video clip, Ryan says that she dresses "tomboy-edgy" for the show. (Right. Tomboys are well known for constantly baring the midriff region.) Has anyone else noticed that this poor little girl doesn't seem like the brightest bulb in the box? Well, she's going to be a big famous pop star, not a neurosurgeon, so I guess that doesn't matter. Ryan sings "Last Dance," and the first 30 seconds of the song she's not following the musicians at all. She's just vocally stumbling along… are they letting her do shots before the show now? (That might explain last week's crash and burn…) Wait… she's not old enough to drink. (Or vote. Or drive.)
Side note: Before some wise ass emails me and writes, "Ryan Starr IS old enough to vote AND drive - she's 19! Check your facts!" allow me to point this out - it's called SARCASM. Learn the concept.
Okay, back to Ryan's performance. She's pretty good, but she doesn't "go for it" at all. While the original version is rather difficult to sing, she decides to keep the song well within a less-than-challenging range. And her outfit is cool, of course - she looks sexy, her stomach is exposed for all of the world to bounce quarters on it - but what's with the knee-high combat boots? Oh, right… she's tomboy-edgy. I forgot. A true punk rocker, that Ryan Starr. A force with which to be reckoned… unstoppable, even. (Whew - I'd better cut back on the cynic juice.) So her performance is (to borrow a quote from "The Prince of Darkness" from a couple of weeks ago) good-ish. Judges?
Randy: That was a better choice of song, but it wasn't exciting for me. (Ryan widens her eyes in disbelief - how dare you say that! I'm Ryan Starr - my mere presence in this room alone sets pulses racing! Hello - have you seen these abs, Randy?) I'm sorry - you performed it better than you sang it.1 2 3 4 Next-->
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