One of these things is not like the other. That’s what happened on “American Idol‘s” rock ‘n’ roll theme night, which leaned almost exclusively on classic rock and the music of the ‘80s, except in one glaring instance when a contestant chose some “edgy” music circa 2004.
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The good news about rock night? “No ballads,” said Ryan Seacrest. And “no slow dancing.” I didn’t realize slow dancing was a thing we were trying to overcome on this show, since usually when the contestants don’t strut back and forth, they are standing still at a microphone. In fact, slow dancing would actually be preferable to the contestants’ general non-movement.
But first! Let’s introduce the judges. Last week Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey both wore bright red, a paean to the Supreme Court same-sex marriage cases, but taken by many as a fashion faux pas. Well, tonight they were both caught wearing a turquoisy tealish color, an obvious ode to SCOTUS’s consideration of the constitutionality of spa days.
Rather than focus on the deep humiliation wrought by Jimmy Iovine’s training room antics before each performance, tonight we got a video pointing out each contestants’ unbearable traits. Burnell Taylor mumbles, and Kree Harrison hugs a lot, and Janelle Arthur has an accent.
For Lazaro Arbos, I don’t know how they narrowed it down to two things: the loud colored shirts and the dramatic poses. No mention of the relentless forehead sweat? His inability to memorize lyrics? How he lies all the time? The fact that he’s never heard of the Beatles, the Four Tops, and now, apparently Queen? Something tells me these “confessionals” are heavily edited.
Burnell opened the show with “You Give Love a Bad Name.” Great song, but not for him. There was nothing interesting and Burnellian about it, like last week when he decided that the word “amour” is pronounced in a totally different way than anyone’s ever heard before. This week, he gave Bon Jovi a pretty faithful reading, but it lacked all the things that make Burnell good. “I’m gonna assume rock and roll is not your thing,” Keith Urban said.
Lazaro and Angie Miller duetted on “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” which is a ridiculously cheesy song when taken out of the capable hands of Freddie Mercury. And especially when put into the hands of Lazaro and Angie, two people who are clearly big cheese eaters. Of course, Lazaro forgot the lyrics, for which Nicki berated him right off the bat. Randy asked him if he’d heard the song before, then answered himself, saying, “Yeah, right.” But Laz corrected him. “No,” he said. “But sure.” Once again: LIAR!
Kree of course was great, singing “Piece of My Heart” as relaxed as her loose-fitting shirt. But poor Kree had pinched a nerve, which the “Idol” dressers blatantly disregarded by putting her in like 16-inch heels. Anyway Mariah praised Kree’s “innate ability to choose your songs,” and then predicted how Kree will work in the studio when she’s making her album. Mariah: “Ready for my visualization for your career?”
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Candice Glover and Burnell did a duet on “The Letter,” which benefited their chemistry of completely hating each other, according to Candice’s intro video. Beneath venomous stares, they both worked in some great musical treats. Burnell came back to us in all his weirdness, and Candice’s voice just blew everyone away. Judges loved it.
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Janelle, whom Lazaro described in her video as “the girl in the corn, except she hasn’t lost all of her teeth,” did Billie Joel, which I wouldn’t ever have predicted, but it totally worked. She gave “You May Be Right” a kind of Reba vibe, and added in some vocal growls and things we don’t usually get from Janelle. Keith loved Janelle’s rhinestone-studded boots, to which Janelle replied with the best under the radar should-have-been-bleeped-if-it-could lines: “I thought they fit the whole rock thing cause they’re stoned.” At least I’m gonna believe she wasn’t just punning on rocks/stones.
Lazaro. Still here. Sang “We Are the Champions” as if champions are “champignons” or “shampoonions” or some other word. And we’ve got to address the sweat right now. Why was Lazaro wearing so many layers? Leather jackets don’t breathe! Anyway, his pitch was everywhere, he strutted around behind the judges annoyingly, and it was all very, well, Lazaro. But it’s probably one of his better performances, which earned him a “good job” from Randy Jackson. Somehow Nicki called it crack juice. That can’t be a good thing, can it?
Last group performance of the night was the trio of Janelle, Amber Holcomb and Kree, on “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me.” Amber definitely stood out the most here, perhaps because her pants were ripped up to her crotch. (Nicki loved them!) Randy started off the critique with “Wow wow wow. Wow wow wow.” I mean, it was good, but six wows? Nicki though said the song put her to sleep, but loved Amber’s “Naomi Campbell realness.”
Nicki didn’t like Candice Glover’s song either, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” She was totally right! This is I think the second time (after Beatles night) that Candice did a big up-tempo song where she sings amazingly but lacks any connection. Randy said she does a Tina Turner thing. Once again, Mariah told Candice something cryptic about waiting for her to give her what she wants. At least we know now it’s a particular song. But which? Is it a Mariah song? I have to know!
Also, Candice has a broken toe. We learn that for an April Fool’s joke, Burnell asked Candice to help him convince Lazaro that their Idol house was on fire. But Lazaro didn’t fall for it, and therefore, Candice broke her toe. And here’s where Ryan fails in his job as interviewer, because maybe the next question might be: What the heck are you talking about? And does Lazaro hurt you? But he just moved right along.
Amber was up next, and in her video, they tried to convince us that Burnell might actually be straight and have a crush on her. Then she did a ridiculously awesome “What About Love.” Take heed Paul Jolley: this is how you sing Heart. Her crazy high crazy strong belt got her a standing ovation from all of the judges.
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Finally Angie went in the prime spot of the night. Her video was all about her crazy eyes—not her crazy teeth, believe it or not. And here’s where the night’s theme unraveled, because her classic rock song was Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life.” She thought she’d take on “the edgy side of things,” she said. In the category that like completely destroyed family values in the ‘50s, there wasn’t enough edge. She got some good constructive feedback from the judges along the lines of go back to the piano and do your Christian folk music pretty please.
Before we sign off, just a quick question. Ryan’s from Georgia, right? So what’s with the Jersey accent? He says “awl” for “all,” and “awwdience,” and “Jimmy’s tawking about.” I mean, I appreciate some good Jersey when I hear it, but what’s the deal?
So, I have officially fallen out of like with Angie Miller, but this gal’s got 25 percent of all contestants’ Twitter followers, so she’ll be fine. And Lazaro’s still right behind her. Considering Burnell’s off night and male gender, he might be in trouble tomorrow. Meanwhile, Amber’s in last place with Twitter fans, so she too should watch out.
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Here are my personal stats for the week, plus Twitter numbers.
1) Amber Holcomb/19,836
2) Kree Harrison/38401
3) Janelle Arthur/26,365
4) Candice Glover/34,620
5) Angie Miller/80,734
6) Burnell Taylor/33,915
7) Lazaro Arbos/56,095