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American Idol, Week 9: Dunderheadsby Dana Walker -- 08/12/2002
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I went to the taping of the show this week. (And I’m just so much cooler now! Many thanks to Jason at Fox for the tickets.) I was going to review the show from the live perspective… but then when I got home, I watched the show on TV. It’s a lot different from the studio audience, folks, especially when you’re sitting in the 3rd-to-last-row, far (stage) left. Acoustics weren’t stellar. I missed a lot of the Briyan’s dialogue. (Not terribly disappointed about that.) But, most importantly, I almost made a huge error in judgment… so I’ll stick to my regularly scheduled recap.
However, I’m just going to get to the gist of it this week… I’ve grown weary of recapping the time-filler crap. This article is long overdue, and everyone has already written reams about this week’s shocking results anyway.
American Idol is the break out hit of the summer. The contestants are on the covers of magazines. The hosts and judges are appearing on late night talk shows. With all of this wonderment, can the writers come up with some decent jokes for the “dunderhead” (quoted from Entertainment Weekly) twins this week? Hmm…
“I’m Ryan Seacrest… and I’m asking for more money.” “And I’m Brian Dunkleman, and I’m…” …saying something not even remotely interesting or amusing. And I stopped paying attention. The answer to my question would be a resounding “no.”
So this week’s theme is Big Band! And there’s a big live band on the tiny little sound stage. In reference to the band, the Briyans say, “Size does matter.” (Remember… on this show, originality counts!) Okay, bring out the kids. Since “fronting a big band takes something a little extra,” we see an oh-so-cute video clip of the kids in rehearsal.
Then the judges take their places. “A lovely big bear of a man – Randy Jackson!” “The only judge who looks good in high heels and a teddy…” (“Are you sure?” “Trust me.”) “Paula Abdul.” “And Hannibal Lechter without the charm – Simon Cowell.” Someone needs to pay those writers for overtime!
Tamyra goes first. She sings “Minnie the Moocher.” She easily slips into the look and feel of the era and performs flawlessly… but what else is new? The judges say:
Randy: You look amazing, man – you’ve got a lot of fans here – (he can barely be heard above the screaming) you sounded amazing. I felt like I was living in that time listening to you. We have a saying for singers like you… you could sing the phone book and make it sound good.
Paula: You were made for big band, you were made for each genre/era you’ve been given. Your personal style is right on point – you always choose the right song. Amazing.
Simon: I have to agree with the belly dancer on my left. (Paula’s dress has him practically drooling into her cleavage, but Simon, of course, would rather scoff than admit his obvious appreciation.) Everything we’ve thrown at you, from 70s to 80s (um, not yet, Simon!) to Big Band, you are totally 100% authentic. And you know what I find so amazing is – how did you go undiscovered for so long? It’s just unbelievable.
My Justin is next.
Side note: The same reader of my column who chastised me for denouncing my Justin emailed me once again, this time to berate me for forgiving him so quickly. Huh? She is clearly the kind of person who, upon noticing that I have filled her half-empty glass with more juice, whines, “But I wanted grape juice, not apple!” Well, go drink your glass half empty again and leave me alone.
Anyway, back to Justin. He performs Route 66 just as perfectly as Tamyra performed her tune. What I really like about his vocal is that he doesn’t overdo it. His level of schmaltz this week is just enough… and he’s wearing a tux with an untied bow tie. Very nice touch, sweetie. Judges?
Randy: Justin is back! That was fabulous. Great song, you look good. Great choice.
Paula: It’s an amazing song – you took the epitome of a cool song and you were cool doing it. You commanded the audience.
Simon: I want to say something before I comment on your performance, because you’ve had a tough time this past two weeks over something you did on the show. Most celebrities’ behavior in real life is appalling. All of the contestants we’ve found so far are genuinely nice people. I’m sticking up for you because I think you’ve been “untreated fairly” (I think Paula’s dress began to take effect on Simon once again). My point is that I genuinely believe that you’re a nice person, but more importantly, a great performer. To America – please, remember, he is a great performer.1 2 3 Next-->
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