Hey American Idol! You’re starting to figure your shit out! A week after you should’ve done, but still! Nice work!
I’m pretty sure I audibly groaned when Ryan Seacrest started the show standing onstage with ten dudes after last week’s shitshow. Last night’s show was supposed to be the girls’ night, but contestant Crystal Bowersox got sick, so they switched nights. If you’re looking for conspiracy-theory signs that the show’s producers want Bowersox to be a force this year, you’ve got it now. God knows that the show would’ve marched straight along if, say, Didi Whatsherfuck had been sick. Blessedly, enough of the male performers managed to function at an acceptable level this week that I only spent about half the show wishing I had Lilly Scott to look forward to.
Take, for example, big freak Michael Lynche. (His Secrets Week secret: He was a theater dork in high school. Not a shock.) Lynche took James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” and sang a respectably straight-up version, not imitating Brown or sending the song into nasal-run overdrive. The judges overpraised him all to hell, but whatever; he earned his keep. So did grunge yowler Lee Dewyze, this week’s recipient of the show-closing pimp spot. (His secret: He made “bad decisions” and got sent to an “alternative school,” whatever the fuck that means.) Dewyze sang Hinder’s assholery anthem “Lips of an Angel” (a good song, haters) and burped out every word with a vaguely scary creeped-out intensity that, it turns out, is exactly what the song needed.
There still wasn’t a single hey-that-was-actually-great moment all night, but there were a few more that didn’t make me want to pack snow into my ears. Alex Lambert, who was so bad last week, won me over a bit this week, mostly because he reminded me of Matt Saracen from Friday Night Lights. (Craig Marks, my ex-boss, Twittered the same thing at the time, but I totally thought it first.) Lambert showed the world what kind of weird intonations happen when a drawly white Texan kid tries out a John Legend song, which was nearly as pleasant as it was disorienting. (Secret: He made up his own language, like the guy from Sigur Ros.) Everyone else apparently hates weirdo-soul yelper Todrick Hall (secret: ballet), but I’m still on board, and it’s weird how the same judges who jumped all over David Cook’s dick for constant song reinvention get all freaked out by Todrick’s sultry slow-burn take on “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”
Not that anyone would confuse last night with an actual good show or anything. I’m completely fucking out, for instance, on lounge-soul smirker Jermaine Sellers. (Secret: He wears a dinosaur sleeper. Not a onesie. Onesies don’t have legs.) This guy lost me with his horrendous tiny bow tie and his irritating habit of arguing with judges while invoking God, and absolutely nothing about his punk-smooth-shit delivery (scatting!) changed that impression. (He did, however, elicit some cogent and smart advice from Kara DioGuardi, of all people: Think about the lyrics before you sing them. Hopefully everyone else who will ever appear on the show was listening.) Casey James, meanwhile, did some bullshit guitar shredding and then swallowed up the entire chorus of the stupid motherfucking Gavin Degraw song he sang. (Secret: He has a giant box of cocaine or puppy blood or something in his dressing room, and he thinks anyone gives a damn what his preshow ritual is.) I liked weird little kid
Andrew Aaron Kelly last week, but this time all the judges told him to be confident, and he responded by turning into this puffed-up little dipshit with a stiff weekend-sportscaster smile. (Secret: He takes butt-ugly pictures.) And I already forgot about John Park, who I guess sang a John Mayer song without comment, so apparently that whole thing has already blown over.
The best part of the show: Walking horror-movie Tim Urban is apparently in it for the long haul, which means he may yet become the single worst successful contestant in Idol history. This week, another wrinkle: He’ll be singing freaky evangelical Xtian pop songs from here on out! Because of course he will. (Secret: He has a big family and he prays or whatever. I’m really looking forward to hating this guy until I forget his name completely.)