Friday, March 09, 2012

A Night of Whitney Wonders

So here we are... its early March, and what we've been waiting for has finally arrived... its the Idol Finals... the Live Shows... The Top Thirteen.  The Lucky Thirteen, as they say.

Tonight, the guys take on a monumental task... songs of the legendary Stevie Wonder, perhaps the greatest living blind guy right now.  (Sorry Mickey Gilley and Ronnie Milsap).  The girls?  Even harder now... the music of the Late Whitney Houston.  I look forward to this night, as it will allow me to dish on Whitney a little. 

Anyone who has read me enough knows that I love Pre-Crack Whitney, an era defined from her beginnings in 1985-86 to time around 1996 when "The Preacher's Wife" was released, both movie and soundtrack.  Truly, she was probably Mid-Crack then, as her relationship with Bobby Brown was in its 5th or 6th year, but it was what I consider her last great, solid work.  Well, okay, I consider "The Bodyguard" in 1992 to be her last great work, but "The Preacher's Wife" was pretty good music too.

And so now, we begin the 12 week trek to find either the next Carrie Underwood, the next Lee DeWyze, or the next Somewhere in Between. 




Tonight, Ryan Seacrusty tells us that this marks American Idol's FOUR HUNDREDTH EPISODE... which is pretty good, I must say.  Does it make me a dork to say that I know WWE Raw is on episode 957?  Just wondering.

Seacrusty tells us about the Stevie/Whitney dynamic, then tells us, "Because of this, we will reveal the Bottom Guy and the Bottom Girl, and the judges will decide who stays and who goes."  Interesting...

Joshua Lidet bats lead-off, with "I Wish" for the City", and helping out is not only Jimmy Iovine (Eye-veen), but also R&B Supa-Dupa Stah Mary J. Blige.  Note:  One of my Top 50 songs of all time is Mary J.'s "Real Love" from 1992ish.  Would go on my Samson High School Soundtrack if I had one.  Maybe I should make one. 

Back to Joshua... he's bringing it.  I can dig it.  Randy the Dawg says, "You just blew it out!  Yo!  Dawg!  Yo!"  And what the heck is that broach on Randy the Dawg's lapel?  J-Lo loved it.  Creepy Uncle Steven Tyler loved it.

Elise Testosterone wants to sing "The Greatest Love of All", but Jimmy Iovine and Mary J. tells her NO.  She can't be singing that song.  They then push "I'm Your Baby Tonight", which is my favorite Whitney song of all time.  Of course, it doesn't help that she says she'd never heard to song before.  Wait... what?  Are they trying to get rid of my dear E-Test off the bat? 

She sounds good, but she really doesn't sound like she really loves that song.  I do love her voice, though.  J-Lo says what I just said, that being she didn't feel a connection to the song.  Of course not, J-Lo... this isn't even what she wanted!  Creepy Uncle Steven and Randy the Dawg says the same.

This guy made a 91 after spending 6 weeks in the bathroom
Big Daddy Jermaine is up next, and going to sing "Knocks Me Off My Feet", a Stevie song that I really don't know very well.  I almost feel that Jermaine should just sing Luther songs all the time, every week.  No matter the theme.  50's songs?  Luther.  70's songs?  Luther.  Songs on the Pop Charts right now? Luther.  Have you seen this guy?  Are you going to tell him no? 

He kind of reminds me of the big dude in "Summer School" who went to the bathroom and spent six weeks there ("my zipper got stuck", he tells Mr. Shoop, played by Mark Harmon) and still scored the highest on the placement test.  I have to think about stuff like this to keep me from falling asleep because it ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Creepy Uncle Stevie loved it.  J-Lo loved it.  Randy the Dawg loved it. 

Along the lines of songs I'm not familiar with, its Erika Van Pelt doing "I Believe In You and Me", a Whitney song I don't know much about.  I dig me some EVP, truly.  She's funny and she's fun, and she's just cute enough to be cute, but not overly cute that she's not cute.  You follow me?  Good.

Mary J. tells EVP her tone is like a "steak and potatoes dinner, not celery".  They advise her to NOT try and sing like Whitney, but use her rasp and do her own style.   As she starts singing, I do recognize this song... its from "The Preacher's Wife".  This quite possibly was Whitney's last good song ever. 

EVP hits the big part of the song, and does it with wonderful restraint.  You down with EVP?  Yeah, you know me!

Randy the Dawg loved her "unbelievable tone".  J-Lo gushes.  Creepy Uncle Steven Tyler says, "it was perfect!"  We all be down with EVP.

By the way, Seacrusty says, "You have a new nickname... EVP!"  I look at The Lovely Steph Leann and say, "Ha!  I started that!  They read the blog!" and she quickly lets me know, "No, they didn't."  Thanks dear.  Frowny face.

Yup.  I own this.  Kids, this is called a "Cah-Set Tape"
Here comes Colton Dixon, doing one of my favorites, "Lately".  Full disclosure, though... I strongly prefer Jodeci's version from circa 1992, though Stevie's is pretty good too.  I even own the cassette single! 

I would have been interested in hearing Daughtry do this song a few years back too, as Colton is the most Daughtry-esque Idol we have this year.  Colton is really doing well, too... and for those of you who watched the show, his background video is distracting.  I have a new laptop, and it looks like a new-age screen saver that I have the option to download (but refused) from Microsoft's website.

Creepy Uncle Stevie says, "Outstanding!"... J-Lo says, "Great!"... Randy the Dawg says, "Yo!" and then says "wasn't pitch perfect" and then says, "the end, flawless."  I agree. 

Its Shannon Magrane!  And she says, "I'll be singing 'I Have Nothing'", and my reaction immediately is "Oooh..."  I almost feel like singing Whitney songs is hard enough... but there are a few "untouchables" from her that you just don't even try unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you can blow it out... not just try your best, but own that sum-gun... "I Will Always Love You" and this one come to mind immediately.

And I'll tell you first, I really like Shannon Magrane... I think she's cute, she's bubbly, and she's got a great voice.  But she just proved my point above.  She didn't blow it out, she barely made it through. 

J-Lo tells her that "you're capable of doing it... but you need to relax".  Creepy Uncle Steven says, "Your nerves got the best of you."  Randy the Dawg concurs.  I don't agree.  I just think that song is way, way, waaaay too big for her.  Its an Untouchable. 

Leave it to my least favorite Idol, D'Kenny G, to sing one of my least favorite Stevie songs, "Master Blaster".  And he's doing a version in one of my least favorite styles of music, reggae.  I just threw up in my mouth.  The Lovely Steph Leann says, "its bad all around." 

No joke.  Or, hopefully this is a joke.  This is terrible.  I want this kid to go home so, so badly. 

I'm also a little iffy on the whole "judges pick a wild-card to join the contest" thing... I mean, its up to the voters by the semis, right?  So why put in Idols the people didn't want, as judged by their votes?  And what if one of these cats win the whole thing?  An Idol that people didn't want who goes on to win it?  Its like that season of Survivor where they had an Outcast Tribe, made up of Lil and Eric Bana, and others that were voted out... and Lil almost won the whole thing!? 

And of course, all the judges dug the fool out of it.  Suck.

Country girl Skylar Laine is doing something smart with her Whitney song, "Where Do Broken Hearts Go", a song that is known, but not one that people immediately think of when they think of Whitney music.   And this works perfectly.

She's doing a version that I quite literally could imagine hearing on 104.7 WZZK right now.   She's not my #1 favorite, and this isn't necessarily my favorite performance of the night, but this is the best sung song of the night so far. 

J-Lo should be gushing over her, and does.  "Biggest moment of the night."  Creepy Uncle Steven says, "That was a thing of beauty."  Randy the Dawg says, "What I love is you are a country girl, but you just proved that you can sing any song." 

And here comes Hee Jun! (he'll take a sad song and make it better).  I just see this guy and he makes me laugh.  He's doing another more obscure Stevie song, "All is Fair in Love".  Mary J. says, "He caught me off guard--I didn't expect Hee Jun! (he'll take a sad song and make it better) to sound like that!"  He then wins over Jimmy Iovene and Mary J. by handing them autographed pictures of himself.  Jimmy's says, "Jimmy Ivene, I love you!' and Mary J's says, "Mary J, I love you more than Jimmy!" This guy cracks me up.

And that helps, because while sung well, the song is sorta boring.  And the judges loved the poop outtat this kid.  Rightly so.  Randy the Dawg even said, "It wasn't perfect... but it was really good."

Tiny little Hollie Cav is doing a borderline Untouchable, that being Whitney's "All the Man That I Need", one of my Top Ten favorite Whitney songs ever.   And I feel like, we are obliged to like Hollie Cav, cause she's so darn nice.  She's also a prime example of how good professional hair and make-up people can make you look, cause she's just cutesy patootsy in her mentoring with Mary J. and Jimmy Iovine, but onstage, she's almost hot.  Almost.  She's not Bayley Brown! mind you... oh, Bayley Brown!, you coulda been a contenda.

I'm a little scared of that ring she's got on, though--it's like, her Planet Krypton High School class ring.  The judges just loved her, and rightly so.

Long live Baylie Brown!
So, Jeremy Risotto is called "Jer-Bear" by J-Lo?  Gag me with a dirty spoon.  Now, unlike D'Kenny G, I like Jeremy Risotto.  I do.  Seems like a good kid.  However, like D'Kenny G, I'm not a fan.  Its not that Jeremy is bad, he's got some talent, he's just not as good as some of the others that could have been picked... Reed Grimm?  Hallie Day?  Baylie Brown!? 

Jeremy is doing "Ribbon in the Sky" and for the second time tonight, I'm borZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

(yawn... stretch... smack lips to get rid of sleepy breath...)

Who's next?

So, I'm hearing a ton about Jessica Sanchez... and she's doing an Untouchable.  When it comes to Whitney, perhaps THE Untouchable, "I Will Always Love You."  This has to be perfect, because every. single. note. will be compared to the immortal original.

Remember what I said earlier?  You don't pick a song without knowing you can blow it out? 

Holy crap.

That might have been one of the greatest Whitney cover songs ever on American Idol.  That also might have been one of the top ten greatest Idol songs ever. 

Holy flippin' crap. 

She just made that song her... well, she owned it. 

J-Lo is openly weeping, though that might be because she just saw her horrid "Got the Music In Me" commercial.  Randy the Dawg just exploded.  Creepy Uncle Steven is in awe. 

And finally, here's the guy who has to follow this... Phillip2.  He's going to attempt a much-attempted Stevie song, "Superstition", probably one of my top five Stevie songs.  Phillip Phillips, or Davematthews Davematthews Jr as EW calls him, is one of those that is going to make this song all his own.

And he does that very thing... its a rocking, raspy, eat the mic, jazzy, guitar fueled version, and it really is different enough to successfully follow J-Sanch's perfection just a few moments before.  If Shannon Magrane had followed J-Sanch with her "I Have Nothing", I'm afraid the judges would have just asked her to leave right then and there.

And the judges harp on the whole "you are so different" and "you have your own style" kind of thing. 

Best to worst:  There is J-Sanch's "I Will Always Love You"

Then there is everyone else... EVP's "I Believe In You and Me"... Skylar Laine's "Where Do Broken Hearts Go"... Hollie Cav's "All The Man That I Need"... Colton Dixon's "Lately"... Joshua Lidet's "I Wish"... Phillip2's "Superstition"... Hee Jun! (he'll take a sad song and make it better)'s "All is Fair in Love"...  Elise Testosterone's "I'm Your Baby Tonight"... Big Daddy Jermaine's "Knocks Me Off My Feet"... Shannon Magrane, "I Have Nothing"... Jeremy Risotto's "Ribbon in the Sky"... and finally, that crap from D'Kenny G

Who goes home?  Either Shannon Magrane or Jeremy Risotto, and they save Jeremy.  Unfortunately.  That's my opinion, anyway.

And the results?  Well, keep reading...

No comments:

Post a Comment

I want to hear your response! Click here!!