Wednesday, March 11, 2009

When Michael Jackson Was Awesome (and Idol results)

If your looking for the Samson blog, just scroll down to the next posting, or click here to read it.

And if you're on Facebook, you're going to want to click on tonight's Idol post here... how else can you enjoy classic Michael Jackson videos? Beeeeeeeecause...



The big bomb last week that I missed was them allowing a 13th contestant into the Finals, instead of just the Top 12. Our judges, The Dawg Randy, Hot Kara, Flaky Paula and Cranky Brit Simon come out, followed by Seacrest, as we begin another season of finding a star who's album you won't buy and who will be forced to sing a crappy song in the final show of the year...

One of my favorite songs of all time, "Say Say Say" with Paul McCartney, back when Paul was cool, MJ was black and they both were speaking to each other. Someone pieced together this little jewel, though, starring JT and Usher....

They'll be singing Michael Jackson songs tonight. This could be easy, it could be tough, simply because MJ songs are so different from tune to tune... "Rock With You", which killed one guy's chances, is much different than "Say Say Say", one of my favorite songs ever. What about "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", which is quite a disco'esque tune, and different than "Black or White"...

Well, anyway, let's see who will be singing tonight... Lil Rounds, Scott the Blind Guy, Danny Gokey, Mike the Oil Rigger, Jasmine, Kris Allen, Allison Itahera, Anoop Dawg, Jorge the Latin Lover, MJC, Adam Lambert, Matt G and Alexis Grace.

Simon gives us the news that two of them will be going home...

We get the Michael Jackson montage, the King of Pop. Whats sad is that kids today just don't get it. They don't understand how big he really is... or was. "Thriller" was for almost 20 years the best selling albums of all time, and still in the Top Four. He invented the modern moonwalk. He invented the dance moves that are now employed by Fergie, Justin Timberlake, most R&B artists and more.

He was The Junk back in the 80s and 90s. When NBC did a Motown 25th anniversary special in 1983, MJ reunited with his brothers for the first time in 8 years, first performing with them, them on his own... he did "Billie Jean" and did the moonwalk for the very first time... and its like, everything was different. He broke out as the superstar phenom. Mocked now as a silly foot move, he did moves no one had ever seen, no one could do. He was like poetry on stage, the limber way he danced, moved, went all over the stage... MJ was unstoppable.

The first time Michael Jackson did his trademark moonwalk, right around the 3:50 mark. Effortless.

My personal favorite MJ song is "Say Say Say", but I do have a love for "Remember the Time", and "Wanna Be Startin' Something" and "The Way You Make Me Feel" and even his ballad, "I Just Can't Stop Lovin' You" was awesome, because back then, it wasn't creepy.

Now? Its creepy.

He practically invented the long-form music video too... a new Michael Jackson video was not just a premiere, it was an event. Back when MTV played, you know, music, and actual videos, you would wait up to see the new Michael Jackson video... when he introduced "Thriller", holy crap, it was amaaaaay-zing. Later on, videos for songs like "Remember the Time" and "Bad" and "Black or White" became these epic stories... though "Black and White" was kinda in the beginning of MJ's creepiness era.

Now, all anyone remembers of MJ is the little boys at Neverland Ranch, and the fact that he went from dark to medium black to pasty white in ten years, and that he's bankrupt and he has this high pitched voice and that he might just be a pedophile and he has two kids by surrogate moms and remember that uncomfortable kiss with Lisa Marie Presley at the MTV Music Awards some odd years back? Wow.

Anyway, I'm excited for the Michael Jackson night, because just for a minute, he's treated like a respectable, memorable artist, not just a guy you would never leave alone in a room with Junior.

Up first? Of course, Lil Rounds singing "The Way You Make Me Feel". She gets the First Remember Me Slot. Its not that I don't like Lil Rounds, its just that I hate the way she's been tossed in our face over and over with a "You WILL love her!" attitude.

Paula is, predictably, up dancing. Lil Rounds got some real pipes and she's wailing away tonight, singing well. Randy says what I think he'd say, "This is the way to start the show, that joint was hot!" Kara says she (Lil, not Kara) sets the standard for the night. Paula loves Lil's look. Simon thought it was good, but was slightly disappointed because he thought it was slightly safe--and he hates her outfit. Me too.

By the way, didja hear the news that there has to be a special number for the extra contestant... usually they use 866-IDOLS-01 or whatever number it is... but IDOLS-13 is a bad line. Trust me on this.

Scott the Blind Guy comes up, and he'll take on Michael Jackson. Apparently he has some sort of severe tunnel vision, and isn't completely blind, just mostly blind... that makes sense, because when Seacrest is talking to him, he looks at Seacrest. When he's on camera, he looks at the camera.

"Keep the Faith" is the song of choice, and Scott the Blind Guy is sitting behind a piano for his music. Homeslice has a pretty decent voice, I just don't know that I'd buy an album from him, in the same manner I can agree that Josh Groban has an excellent voice, but I'd probably never go out and own a Josh Groban CD.

Kara starts, and she is amazed that Scott the Blind Guy learned that song in the same week. She likes the song choice too--its such a hopeful song choice. Paula loved it, pointing out Siadah Garrett, who helped compose the song, loved it, and she did. Simon hated the song. Scott the Blind Guy says he was trying to be artistic, and Simon says that this show isn't about being artistic, its about performance. Randy says the song was good, but just safe.

Now, we head to Wisconsin to learn about The Widower Danny Gokey. Most chicks I know love this guy... how will he handle Michael Jackson? Should I have worded that better?

And he's singing... "P.Y.T."? Really? Here's how excellent the "Thriller" album was... "PYT" was a great, great song... and it was still like, the fifth best song on that whole album. "Thriller" was amazing.

The Widower Danny Gokey starts off as a ballad, but then kicks in. Paula is up and dancing. I like this version, by the way... he's not trying to re-create MJ, he's doing his own spin on it, albeit not perfect.

Paula says, "Since you're now single, here, come see me. Room 417B." She's practically crying, and she's predicting a finals appearance for him. Simon thought the vocals were brilliant, like Michael McDonald, a white guy with soul. The dancing? "Hideous". Randy loved it. Kara loves his joyous appearance.

Could The Widower Danny Gokey be on the David Cook road to success?

Mike the Oil Rigger might be one of the least likely people to be doing some MJ, but he's gonna try with "You Are Not Alone", one of my least favorite MJ songs. This was from his "I'm really weird now, I have hints, allegations and things left unsaid all around me, but you can't prove anything" phase in the late 90s, right before his career careened into the precipice of The Neverland Ranch evils.

And by the way, why would you EVER send your kid to spend the night at The Neverland Ranch? Who does that? I don't care how rich you are, I would never let my kid spend the night with you, Mr. Famous Celebrity who owns a monkey and is extremely weird.

Simon liked it well enough, as did Randy. Kara liked it. Paula liked it, and is trying to use big words she can't anunciate, and its really kinda funny. Mike the Oil Rigger kinda looks like a more polished Dale Jr.

My picks after four... The Widower Danny Gokey, Lil Rounds, Scott the Blind Guy, Mike the Oil Rigger

Jasmine Murray is next... you know, there is just something I don't care for with Jasmine. She seems like a nice girl, she's even from Mississippi, so she's a southern girl... I just ain't a Jazz fan.

Jazz Murray is going to sing "I'll Be There" by MJ, but really by The Jackson Five. Personally, I dig this song more when it was done by pre-skank Mariah Carey, back in, what, '92? It was on the live MTV Unplugged EP, which is excellent. The background vocals was done by this dude named Trey Lorenz, who then had a follow up song called "Someone to Hold", one of those songs that popular for like, two weeks then disappeared. But I not only have the cassette single, I also have the song on my iPod. (Randy just admitted he helped produce Mariah's version).

I miss pre-skank Mariah Carey

As far as Jazz Murray goes, I wasn't a fan of the song. Or her. Randy liked it okay. Kara says it should have been done in a half-key down. Paula tells her how talented she is, not a good sign... Paula tells her that the puppies aren't as cute, and the rainbows aren't as bright. Simon? He says it was a good attempt, decent control, a little robotic.

From Conway, Arkansas, it's Kris Allen! He and his wife Kate are about as cute as a bucket full o'puppies.

Oh, and he's taking on "Remember the Time", with a guitar. I know so little about this guy, its hard to make an assumption, but hey, I really, really, really like this version. Go Kris! You know what this sounds like? This sounds like when local artist Derrick Harris did cover songs when we held DeuceFest music festival in 2000, when Factor 2 opened for them.

Dude... this guy is awesome. Except for that last note. That brought it down a notch, but overall... pretty good.

Kara observes that the screaming girls love Kris. She also reveals that Kris Allen helped other contestants this week... Paula talks about clouds and flowers and lovely things, and tells him that The Widower Danny Gokey has her key, and Kris Allen can get it when he's done. Simon says it was just okay, while Randy says it was an interesting song choice. Very Jason Mrazzy. Dude, I thought it was great.

Unfortunately, all the links to the awesomely awesome "Remember the Time" video have been disabled, so click this link, and enjoy Eddie Murphy, Iman, Magic Johnson, some award winning effects and Michael Jackson's strangely cool hair.

Sixteen year old Allison Iraheta is redheaded, seems a little flaky and rocked the hizzy out when she did "Alone" several weeks ago. She spends time at home singing at what only equivilates to a Mexican Costco, located right off of Lorna Road.

"Give In To Me" is her song. Another one I am not that familiar with. Its kinda weird hearing songs like this now, because back then, they were really cool... but knowing now what we know, its like those songs take on a different meaning.

Its like Elton John singing, or maybe George Michael... were they singing to chicks when their music was new, or were they always singing to dudes, and they were just trying to mask it for a while? And MJ? Was he singing "Give In To Me" to chicks at the time, or was it always directed at Webelos Scouts?

Red Head Allison just screamed that song. Paula loved that song. Simon liked it too. Randy says, "You got it, you can sing! You are one to watch! Check it out!" Kara liked it too. For me, it was just pretty good. I liked "Alone" better.

Anoop Dawg is doing the Thriller dance before commercial, which makes me wonder if this is what he's taking on tonight... Anoop was the 13th contestant (with his left and right eyebrows being the 14th and 15th) added last week.

Ah, not "Thriller"... its "Beat It". Anoop has his collar actually turned up. There takes a bit of street cred to successfully pull off this song, and to me, he just doesn't have the cred to do it. Yeah, MJ weighed about a buck'o five soaking wet, but he managed to dance his way into cred. Anoop? This just doesn't suit him.

Paula speaks slowly, trying to find the words to criticize, even getting booed. She didn't like it, while Simon called it horrible. Randy says it was totally the wrong song, echoing the others in saying karaoke. Kara wanted some variation in his voice. Simon adds that he regrets adding a 13th, 14th and 15th on the basis of that song. Seacrest reads quickly as they seem to be running behind.

My picks after eight... Kris Allen, The Widower Danny Gokey, Lil Rounds, Red Head Allison, Scott the Blind Guy, Mike the Oil Rigger, Anoop Dawg, Jazz Murray.

Jorge the Latin Lover is going to sing MJ. The Puerto Rican Don Juan is going to bust out on some King of Pop. He'll be singing another Jackson Five classic, "Never Can Say Goodbye".

I was bored. Completely. Randy didn't like the song choice. Kara said he should have gone with "She's Out of My Life", which I think would have been great with that accent going on. Paula asks him why he picked the song, and I cannot understand 97% of what Jorge the Latin Lover says. He mumbles, "...I didn't want to sing 'Bad' by Michael Jackson", and Simon pipes up, "Well, you sorta did."

Ah yes, here is Megan Joy Corkery, the hottest chick on the show. MJC is from Sandy, Utah, and loves the spotlight. Even her mom, who looks 35, is hot looking... a grandmother! We see MJC's kid, Ryder (who names their kid Ryder? Was 'U-Haul' taken?)...

"Rockin' Robin"? Really? You have this entire dearth of Michael Jackson, and apparently Jackson Five, classics to choose from and you go for the hokiest in the entire collection (except for maybe "Childhood"... well, no, that's not hokey, that song is creepy)... really? Really?

Two points for hotness, but seriously, this song is annoying. If this were Kid Nation Idol, it would be great... but MJC, I expected better.

Kara liked her personality that was "injected into the song". Paula stammers, mumbled, fumbles and is trying to hate her for being so good looking. Paula looks really old. Simon says, "What a stupid song choice!" I told you! Randy liked it.

Here is Adam Lambert--the chicks that aren't full on The Widower Danny Gokey are full on Adam Lambert.

And he's singing "Black or White"... a little history about this song. Back in the early 90s, Fox liked to do stunt promotions, like premiere a Michael Jackson video on a Thursday night, November 14th, 1991 at 735pm or something. So this video premiered, and I remember seeing it on television, and I enjoyed it, it was fine, it had Macauley Culkin in it, but after the video was over, MJ starts doing this dance thing--no music, mind you--and grabbing his crotch. Alot. Then he starts dancing up and down this alley, he jumps on a car, then he somehow procures a baseball bat, and starts smashing up the windows.

Then he turns into a panther.

No, I'm not making this up. Perhaps that was the very first, or at least first "we shoulda seen this coming" clue to MJ being a little too bizarre and freaky for the public to withstand.

Adam Lambart annoys me. He screams the song into the mic... he's like... well, if Axl Rose were gay, and sang slightly more affiminate, then this would be him. Adam Lambert. The Gay Axl Rose.

And the judges are going to love him, I'm sure. Paula is going nuts. She's transfixed on him, she tells him how they've never had anyone in Idol history as seasoned as he. Holy crap... she might just do him there on the stage. She then predicts he'll be there with The Widower Danny Gokey. Simon says it was in a totally different league. Randy calls him the most current artist in the show. Kara loved it. Sigh... I thought it was crap. He's talented, but still...

Matty G has the unfortunate position of following Paula's Next American Idol Adam Lambert. In his video, he's wearing a terrible K-Fed hat, which doesn't endear him to anyone.

"Human Nature" is the song he's going to sing, another one of my favorites by MJ. Matty G sits at a piano, singing "When they say why... why... tell them that its human nature... why... why... does he do me that way... when they say why... why... tell them that its human nature..."

How is possible that two of my favorite performances of the night are by the two guys I didn't think I could pick out of a lineup. I thought that was awesome.

Randy says a little pitchy, but he liked it. Kara wants to see him week after week. Paula throws out several positive adjectives. Simon liked it too. After the Adam Lambert Loveapalooza, they are running out of time for talking, so the judges zip through the comments.

Finally, Alexis Grace is up. I really, really like this chick, and though I'm not ready to crown her with the coveted "My Next American Idol" title, she's in the running. And like most of the contestants, she's a mom.

"Dirty Diana" is the song she'll sing... this is one of those odd MJ songs that I forget exist, but when I hear it, I remember how much I liked it. I. Love. Alexis. Grace. And with that outfit, you can easily sing "Dirty Alexis... naw... Dirty Alexis... naw..." Loved that song. Love this chick. Rock on.

For whatever reason, I always think of Stephanie Phillips when I hear this song--not because she was evil or dirty, but because her middle name is Diana. Go figure.

And here they go, hurrying through the comments. Kara says, "Your a naughty girl, and I liked it..." Paula says to watch the oversinging, but good. Simon says it wasn't as good as Alexis probably thought it was. Randy liked it too.

My picks for the night... Kris Allen, Alexis Grace, Matty G, The Widower Danny Gokey, Lil Rounds, Paula's Next American Idol Adam Lambert, Red Head Allison, MJC, Scott the Blind Guy, Mike the Oil Rigger, Anoop Dawg, Jorge the Latin Lover, Jazz Murray

And here are the results!!

We skip from Tuesday to Wednesday night, where two, count 'em two people will be eliminated. This show is always quicker, as I can speed through the group song, and Kanye West and Kelly Clarkson performing--I can fast forward through those too.

Our judges are here, and Seacrest hosting. He now is introducing a new twist... in response to previous seasons when future superstars like Jennifer Hudson and Daughtry went home, they have introduced a "Judges Save". The judges can unanimously choose to save one contestant during one show, but only once per season. And that night, no one will be eliminated... however, the next week, two people will go home. Interesting...

I fast forward through the video and the group song, and I'm sure there will be a Ford commercial coming up at some point. Now, the video montage from last night, which I'll forward through because heck, I just saw it.

They are all sitting on The Couch of Anxiety... if I had my drethers, I'd punt Jorge the Latin Lover and Adam Lambert, though I think Lambert would cause a stink, so let's get rid of Jazz Murray.

And the Ford video. And we skip through it.

The music is in the background, so it looks like Seacrest has some news. Mike the Oil Rigger stands up upon command. He is safe to rig another week. Allison Iraheta stands. Itahera? Either way, she's safe til next week. What about Jazz Murray? She's up on her feet. America voted... and she comes down to the center of the stage. Matty G stands, starts to walk to the stage, and Mike the Oil Rigger pulls him back. Matty G's fate? He's safe too.

Kris Allen stands up. He sang my favorite of last night, so naturally, he's probably in the bottom three. MJC stands, who stunk last night, but I hope she keeps around. Kris Allen has a seat, MJC comes down to the center of the stage, joining Jazz Murray. One is safe, one is going home. After the vote... MJC is safe. Jasmine Murray says goodbye... soooo see ya.

She'll sing, while the judges chat as to whether they'll save her or not (I think not). They have to save this little "save rule" for that quirky week when Adam Lambert gets booted, or Lil Rounds gets inexplicably punted in Week Six.

Randy gives her the news that she'll be going home. Bye! Seacrest tries to quietly comfort a crying Jazz Murray. As we take a look at her journey via video, I will fast forward through it. And here's another fast forward, I'll zip through Kanye West's performance. Not my fault! Dubya told me to do it, cause he hates black people.

Does Kanye have another album dropping, or something? He just released 808s and Heartbreaks... maybe Nigel Lythgoe, the producer, has a tape of him smoking pot with hookers or something, cause Idol is not really Kanye's demographic...

Back to the Couch of Anxiety, and I'm picking Jorge the Latin Lover to be the next to go... and Jorge is sitting next to Adam Lambert and Lil Rounds on the end of the couch--not a good sign. Scott the Blind Guy stands up. He's safe. Alexis Grace stands. She's safe! The Widower Danny Gokey stands up. He's safe. We knew this.

Which brings us to Anoop Dawg... he stands up. He just came back from White Castle with Harold and Kumar. He starts walking toward the center of the stage without a word from Seacrest, who finally says, "Yeah, go ahead." Adam Lambert stands up, though its pointless. He sits down. Leaving us with Jorge the Latin Lover and Lil Rounds. Jorge stands up first, then Lil Rounds stands. And as expected, The Puerto Rican One joins Anoop Dawg.

Could this be the first time two non-black/non-white guys have stood together on Idol in the Bottom 2? I fast forward through commercials, and then through Kelly Clarkson. Seacrest says that every week, they'll be bringing back a former Idol to perform--maybe we'll see Pickles!

I love Pickles!

Okay, well I didn't really forward through Kelly Clarkson--her song "My Life Would Suck Without U" is actually pretty fun. I am going to download it from iTunes soon enough.

Anyway, Anoop Dawg and Jorge the Latin Lover stand, and Anoop Dawg is safe, unless the judges want to save Jorge... and again, there's not a shot they would use the Adam Lambert Rule on Jorge. He never really should have made it... I liked Ju'not Joyner much, much better.

There's your Idol... and the dismissal song? Carrie Underwood covering "Home Sweet Home", a song done by Motley Crue. I kid you not.

And just cause I want to...

This is the complete video to "Smooth Criminal". The gravity lean he does here is done by special boots that actually got Michael Jackson a patent for development.

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