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Thursday, February 26, 2009


American Idolatry: Viva La Vida Loca Boheme

No pictures tonight, because I'm late getting this up. But with one major exception, the night was mostly a continuation of last week's mediocre debuts. Lesson to be learned #1: song choice is key. Lesson #2: don't fuck around with Coldplay, kids.

Idol Wannabe : Jasmine Murray
Song Choice : "Love Song"
Fashion Sense : A silver space jacket, like she's a hip extra from a teen queen remake of Logan's Run
ModFab Verdict : B
God, but she's beautiful. Just exquisite. And she has proved in previous rounds that she's got formidable chops, and she's got a look that would not be out of place in today's pop marketplace. But her Achilles' Heel, if she has one, is her youth...which contributed to a probably fatal combination of nerves and inexperience. The judges were harsh, maybe too harsh. But her performance wasn't memorable, and for her fans (of which I am one), last night can only be pegged as a major disappointment.

Idol Wannabe : Matt Giraud
Song Choice : "Viva La Vida"
Fashion Sense : A matching leather version of Jasmine Murray's faux-Members Only jacket (to show he's cool), plain shirt and jeans (to show he's grounded), and way-bright sneakers (to show he's fun)
ModFab Verdict : D
A thin and reedy voice that only made it into the finals with his piano playing, Giraud always struck me as overpraised in the early rounds. Despite the judges making excuses for his terrible, off-tune performance (a VERY unusual turn of events, I must say), there's no denying that he massacred Coldplay's recently-minted Grammy winner. It'll be interesting to see if the judges' pleas to viewers to essentially ignore this performance and send him through anyway will be honored. Here at ModFab HQ, no one will be dialing in for him, of that I can assure you!

Idol Wannabe : Jeanine Vailes
Song Choice : "This Love"
Fashion Sense: Hot pants, incomprehensibly paired with a floral blouse and a beaded tuxedo jacket. Back at my senior prom in the late 80's, there was a girl dressed exactly like this. And we made fun of her, too.
ModFab Verdict : D
Ouch. Out of tune and screeching through what should be the money notes, the performance was the biggest disaster of the night so far. Paula, the eternal optimist, could only muster "great legs" for the compliment portion of the critique. And why Maroon 5? It isn't that great a song to begin with, and it did her no favors.

Idol Wannabe : Nick Mitchell
Song Choice : "And I Am Telling You (I'm Not Going)"
Fashion Sense: The signature red headband, a white tuxedo jacket complete with tailes, a lame shirt, and cargo shorts.
ModFab Verdict : Performance A, Voice C+
I knew this moment was coming; frankly, I've dreaded having to write about it. Because Nick and his "character" walk a fragile, unspoken line in the Idol rulebook...namely, whether it's a media-fueled entertainment or a serious vocal competition. As a piece of performance art, Nick was smart, hilarious, witty, and hugely entertaining. But as a piece performed in a singing contest, it was despicably shabby, unformed, and woefully dependent upon shtick. So is Idol meant to entertain, or reward singers of quality? Both, of course. So I'm torn on Nick...but I'm dead certain that America will love him dearly, and hold onto him for at least another week.

Idol Wannabe : Allison Iraheta
Song Choice : "Alone"
Fashion Sense: Generic punk chick garb, if you're a punk chick from Kansas...black skirt with leggings, sassy black top, and dyed hair. Holy Stefani, Batman!
ModFab Verdict : B+
I gasped out loud when I heard Allison say she was taking on Heart's legendary power ballad. You've got to be able to slam it on your debut night, and singing such an iconic song (from such an iconic singer) was a tall order. But not only did she rise to the occasion, she nailed it. Strong, confident vocal lines, power when it counted, and a surprising stage presence. This sixteen-year-old just got on my radar screen in a big way.

Idol Wannabe : Kris Allen
Song Choice : "Man in the Mirror"
Fashion Sense: What is up with the Members Only jackets tonight? Was there a fire sale at the JC Penney outlet? This one is, at least, a little more photographer-on-location, less sophomore-drinking-spritzers.
ModFab Verdict : B-
Another big iconic song, but in this instance, there's no force of personality behind it...or vocal dexterity, for that matter. He's really pretty, which may get him passed on to the next week; Paula fell for him (surprise), and we've had a shortage of cuties thusfar. Simon's rave review was a bit of a surprise. I don't know...I don't see it, bottom line.

Idol Wannabe : Megan Corkrey
Song Choice : "Put Your Records On"
Fashion Sense: simple white summer dress, set off by her blond tresses and some serious ink on her upper right arm. Tattoos, yeah! This is rock!
ModFab Verdict : B-
Totally out of her depth, Corkrey has a nice but unremarkable alto. Very middle of the road. But that may not be important, because she has something more germane to a television competition -- she's beautiful. Stunning, in fact. And blonde teen goddesses have a stellar track record of success in Idol history. I don't want to overstate it (as Randy did, when he compared her to Winehouse, Adele, and Duffy), but Megan may be a force to contend with, middling talent or not.

Idol Wannabe : Matt Breitzke
Song Choice : "If You Could Only See"
Fashion Sense: Black, untucked collared shirt with rocker patterned stripes on each side...the outfit worn by every drunk guy who hits on the pretty girl at 3 AM right when the bar is closing.
ModFab Verdict : B-
Matt has the exact opposite problem of Megan...he's got a lovely voice and a club-band charm, but the wrong look for modern pop music and a near-complete absence of star power. He did the song well, but Simon signed his death warrant by attacking the song choice, and then the others judges piled on. Good luck to you, Matt...hope you enjoyed your stay in La La Land.

Idol Wannabe : Jesse Langseth
Song Choice : "Bette Davis Eyes"
Fashion Sense: Off-the-shoulder black sweater with jeans...because in this competition, forgettability is key.
ModFab Verdict : B
Jesse did a fine job, staying in tune and hitting all the dramatic beats...but I find myself agreeing with Randy (and no one is more shocked than I am about that!). She simply wasn't extraordinary. The song isn't very challenging musically, and her gentle sway didn't make waves, telegenically speaking. I have a hard time believing that anyone would get excited enough by this performance to pass her through to the next round.

Idol Wannabe : Kai Kalama
Song Choice : "What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted"
Fashion Sense: Fitted black shirt and tight black jeans...in other words, Smoking Hot Outfit.
ModFab Verdict : B+
A little tentative, but I was so glad to hear the first perfect match of singer and song that I didn't care. Kai's got a great backstory and a pretty tenor that is blessedly unadorned with glitzy runs. The judges were pretty tough, but I think it was triangulation...they've got their favorites, and are doing their best to shape the view of the voters.

Idol Wannabe : Mishavonna Henson
Song Choice : "Drops Of Jupiter"
Fashion Sense: Exquisite sea-blue shimmer dress, which unfortunately had leggings poking out from the bottom. But I was into it, a bit.
ModFab Verdict : B+
Pound for pound, Mishavonna had the best pure vocal talent of the evening. But again: is that enough? Probably not. She has little to no showmanship, and the song was never more than adequate. I feel like America will pass her by, and it's a real shame, because she's probably the only person tonight who could seriously sustain a career with longevity. She's also the only person tonight I'd consider buying a record from.

Idol Wannabe : Adam Lambert
Song Choice : "Satisfaction"
Fashion Sense: A leather blazer -- no, make that a leather suit! -- with huge gold chain necklaces over a t-shirt. Spunky!
ModFab Verdict : A-
Really? The Broadway Boy is going to see the Rolling Stones? Okaaaaay. But he worked it out, starting it off with a slow Tina Turner-ish slink before powering it up to full force. And no one has the big notes this year like Adam...he's got a marvelous instrument, and it has been well trained by stage work over the years. He's marketable to so many demographics -- pretty boys for the teenage girls, adorable eyes for the mothers, and non-threatening rock moves for the menfolk. With a major exception in Simon, he received the best comments of the night from the judges.

Best Of Night: Adam Lambert
Worst Of Night: Matt Giraud
The Three Going Through To The Final 12: Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, Kris Allen

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2/26/09, 11:41 PM  
Blogger The Slabber said...

Kris Allen may very well be this year's winner.

2/27/09, 12:10 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

i've been waiting to watch until the final 12 live shows start, but i watched this week because Mishovanna is an alum of Debbie Gibson's Electric Youth camp that ran this summer. I thought she had a great vocal too but didn't exactly command the stage and that is what probably cost her her place in the final 12 :(

2/27/09, 4:51 AM  

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