'American Idol': Sayonara, Syesha

While Lisa de Moraes is watching the television networks unveil their new season schedules in New York, Designated "American Idol" Pinch-Blogger Teresa Wiltz gives a play-by-play of this week's results show.

Another season of "American Idol" rapidly approaches its denouement.

Scratch the rapidly.

Watching the penultimate results show is the mental equivalent of wading through a pond of marshmallow fluff with patches of peanut butter.

Those would be the "gooey" (thanks, Simon, we couldn't have said it better) montages of the Idolettes returning to their roots, with hometown stadiums filled with weepy, screamy fans (though Syesha Mercado's seemed a little less fan-filled), helicopter rides, limo rides, private jet rides, and each of our heroes/heroine getting all verklempt from the awesomeness of it all.

Or, to quote the Cherubic One, "Gosh. Gosh. Gosh."

Gag. Gag. Gag.

We watch an hour of this loop of stories that We. Already. Know.

We know David Cook is a bartender. That Syesha's Cuban dad is now living the clean and sober life, and just watching his daughter on "American Idol" is a "natural high." (Do they coach this stuff?) That everybody back home in Murray City, Utah, just luurvs David Archuleta.

And we so could do without that lukewarm opening number with our Final Three listlessly raking over the embers of McFadden & Whitehead's "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," a number that was Limburger even back in '79.

Judge Paula Abdul, perhaps sensing the high boredom quotient potential, turns up in a dress that plunges way past the TV-G rating. Host Ryan Seacrest alerts anyone who isn't watching the show with their eyes open that Paula is falling out of her dress.

Seacrest likes to play the provocateur. Or maybe he's just an old meanie.

He drags David C.'s brother Andrew up on stage, reminding everyone that David never intended to audition for "Idol" -- he just showed up to give Andrew moral support. "Next thing I know I'm taking the golden ticket and going to Hollywood," David says, looking all aw-shucks. Way to rub it in, bro.

Fantasia Barrino, Idol '04, performs, singing her heart out in a funky jumpsuit. She's got fuchsia hair. She gets the Ikettes -- or at least, they look like the Ikettes -- singing and grinding and flinging their hair around. She's whooping and hollering, gritty and greasy, stomping out in the audience and scaring all the white girls. She's got a James Brown take-it-to-the-bridge guitar thing going on.

But in the force field of inertia and calculated wholesomeness that is "Idol," it's as if she's been put on mute. Even so, Fantasia's performance is way grittier, far more spontaneous, than anything else on the show.

Judge Simon Cowell looks terrified. And that alone, folks, is worth the price of admission.

At the end of one of the longest hours in recorded history, we finally get down to the business of finding out What. We. Already. Know. Namely, Syesha, a hanger-out in the benthic zone all season long, gets the (graceful) boot.

Syesha never managed to consistently hit it out of the park -- though she was certainly capable of some showstoppers -- and that, not to mention 56 million votes, sealed her fate.

Which means next week, we watch Boy Band Cute and Rocker Lite Cute battle to the finish.

Told you so.

By Teresa Wiltz  |  May 15, 2008; 6:11 AM ET "American Idol"
Previous: "American Idol": A Pitchy Battle | Next: "American Idol": The Two Davids

Comments

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Lisa, you shouldn't abandon us during these critical times in AI. I mean, I understand turning the blog over earlier in the season. But right now, we need you!!

Posted by: Ryan | May 15, 2008 6:49 AM

So what broadway show will Syesha be in?

Will the tickle me Elmo doll say 'gosh, gosh, gosh' when you poke it in in its belly next Christmas?

Simon's look with Fantasia was priceless. At one point I thought she was going to do the grape dance stomp on the girlie mosh pit...might have been a fine vintage.

Did anyone else notice the man-web shirt of interlocking dancers on D.A.'s shirt on Tues? What is up with that? Is he trapped in a web of men? Gosh.

Did anyone else want to hear D.C.'s brother's audition? Why didn't he get a day named after him in his hometown like Syesha and D.A.?

OK so it is obvious Randy=DA, Paula+Simon=DC...who is going to make the most off of their respective horses?

Pinch-blogger: need to refer to Paula's shoes, please, not necklines.

Is there a scene where you don't see Syesha's dad talking about his drug problem? On Tues night Ryan's joke about Syesha's dad bringing a date to next week was pretty funny.

Posted by: David Apukeuletto | May 15, 2008 7:29 AM

Syesha was lip synching last night!! At the end of her song, she lowered the microphone, but the voice was still unwaveringly their!!! Am I the only one who noticed this??

Posted by: Right Winger | May 15, 2008 7:30 AM

I gave Fantasia some time to see how annoying her voice still is and then I fast forwarded. Luckily my TiVo flashed a frame of Simon during the performance. So I went back and saw the greatest facial expression on Idol EVER! He looked horrified! How awesome was that!?

The show should be short for me next week as I plan to fast forward all of Baby Elmo's performances.

Posted by: mdg | May 15, 2008 7:32 AM

I thought they were all lip synching in the opening act - I am sure they Syesha and DC were, anyway, for at least part of it. I won't ever watch the show again after that. I know there isn't any integrity on this show, but that really pushed the envelope.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2008 7:58 AM

Syesha was lip synching last night!! At the end of her song, she lowered the microphone, but the voice was still unwaveringly their!!! Am I the only one who noticed this??

Posted by: Right Winger | May 15, 2008 7:30 AM

************************

I thought this too, so I'm glad someone else noticed this.

It's painful watching David C. in those group number dances--he looks absolutely ridiculous; hopefully they won't make him and David A. march around the stage by themselves next week.

I missed Fantasia's performance, although from what I could hear, it was screechy. However, I still think her rendition of "Summertime" was the best I've ever heard--raw and haunting.

Posted by: Sappho | May 15, 2008 7:59 AM

Can't...take...any more...Archie. Am I totally off if he keeps making me think of the glass-eyed, wooden-tailed monster from the story about the gypsy girl from "More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark"?

Posted by: Cam | May 15, 2008 8:13 AM

A cabaret version of a Lisa column. Sorry, but this was awful. First the show goes boom and now the morning after too? I know, so don't read. I won't. Not with this pinch "blogger" -- which isn't a blog, it's an electronic version of a dull story in the Television section.

Reasons to question the PB:

1. "Fantasia's performance is way grittier, far more spontaneous . . ." Wha, wha, wha? It was a screechy trainwreck. She looked like a powerlifter in the up cycle of her steroids, the red flame hair told us we were in Hades, but we would have known that if we'd closed our eyes. What the hell was that? Simon's reaction was the single best part of this show -- maybe the season.

2. No mention of the excessive focus on weeping. David weeps. Syesha weeps. DC's brother weeps. DC gets misty. And they hadn't seen Fantasia.

3. "neckline?" C'mon, there's a lingo here. Blech.

4. Not a single word about the continued ridiculous product placements and self-promotion. Gotta give 'em credit for booking everyone on a local Fox show and forcing the Fox logo into virtually every shot for 20 minutes. And whoa, only a limited time to download your itunes songs (as if), and none of us really watch the Ford commercial do we? Lisa does that so we don't have to. PB doesn't.

4. "Boy Band Cute and Rocker Lite Cute" Again, what the hell is that? Which one is Elmo? Err, neither. Is the king of combover getting by on "cute?" Very clever PB. Not.

5. No mention of goofball mayor in Utah. No mention of the awful dancing. Has any final three moved worse? Any final two? No mention of Justin Guarini or Lloyd from Entourage. No mention of the dozen other things that I don't even notice but see reprised here.

Man, I feel like someone stole the toy out of my cereal box. Dull Dull Dull.

Oh, one last thing -- Is it me, or did Syesha hit the genetic lottery? Talk about getting the best features from both parents. She won every contest imaginable the day she was born.

Posted by: Doorknob | May 15, 2008 8:13 AM

Ouch - so harsh, people! So she's not Lisa - she tried; she's cute. We all love Lisa but give the girl a break - she's doing her best. Sheesh!

Posted by: Sheila | May 15, 2008 8:56 AM

I was never, ever a fan of Fantasia's. However, last night I loved her. I didn't think she was screechy and she sure had some energy going there! Simon's face was SO funny. I don't think he was scared but I sure don't know why his jaw was dropped like that - too funny!

Posted by: WI | May 15, 2008 9:00 AM

At this point, I don't even watch the show. The only thing that is entertaining about it is reading your column!

Posted by: Courtney | May 15, 2008 9:00 AM

The WaPo editors need to get control of the SPOILERS in the HEADLINES. I'm cool with it this time, but I'm still upset about The Wire thing.

Posted by: atb | May 15, 2008 9:10 AM

"Why didn't he get a day named after him in his hometown like Syesha and D.A.?"

David Apukeuletto, I live in St. Louis and believe me there was a David Cook day last week in Missouri.

Posted by: not a watcher, just a lurker | May 15, 2008 9:29 AM

It's columns like this one (and yesterday's) that really make you appreciate the talent of Lisa de Moraes. What a disappointment that Lisa is on hiatus with only three contestants left.

Posted by: Joe | May 15, 2008 9:34 AM

Hey - posters. Stop the Wiltz bashing. Not cool. Comment on the show or hit up another blog!

Posted by: WI | May 15, 2008 9:41 AM

Wow. Some totally classless comments regarding the summary.

It's too bad the internet makes it so much easier to trash someone from a keyboard when you wouldn't dare say the same things to the person directly.

Posted by: Mike | May 15, 2008 9:51 AM

I thought--feared really--that DC would not make the top two as rockers (even "lite" ones) haven't made it too far in past seasons. I do like Syesha, she has a pretty voice and showed more personality in the interviews the last two weeks but just a little too late. She'll do well in musicals on stage or movies. DA is a trained monkey who has had a voice coach since age 11. While extremely marketable to the Teen Scene for his cuteness, his song types are more wedding singer oriented and senior (not high school) set. Should he win, he'll need loads of coaching on stage presence, moving/working the stage, and not standing slump shouldered. Having the AI title or runner up should make him stand taller and more confident. DC knows he can sing and work the song choices given him to fit his style of singing. He will carry the title better (mainly due to age). He looked like DA's dad when he ushered him away from Syesha after she got the boot, and looks like his protector. Maybe if he is runner-up, he'll be the life coach that DA so desperately needs!

Posted by: MikeDC | May 15, 2008 9:52 AM

I agree with Sheila; you folks are too rough on Ms. Wiltz. She's doing a great job in Lisa's absence. You haters need to take a time out and rememeber that this is only a Blog. About. American Idol. Come on! There are more important things to get riled about. This isn't politics. Why attack someone who's attempting to entertain you?

I also agree with WI. I thought Fantasia's performance was spectacular! For sheer emotional impact, it was possibly the most electrifying performance on AI this season.

Posted by: B. Kinde | May 15, 2008 9:56 AM

Since reading Lisa's column about AI I will completely trust (& look for) every other show she critiques along the way! Ohhh, but how I missed her this week, too. ...Nothing personal to the writer - every writer has their own voice. But in many ways I now watch the show mostly to hear Lisa's take on it in the morning because she's better than Simon in nailing the subtle nuances of all the singers/players! With all due respect to the writer today..... Lisa I agree.... please don't abandon us now!

Posted by: hannie | May 15, 2008 9:57 AM

Yet another phoned in review... lots of missing information. I wonder if Wiltz watched the whole show. Lisa rarely misses a thing.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | May 15, 2008 10:04 AM

OH, and I completely forgot to mention Fantasia's performance. I texted a friend last night wondering what we had just witnessed. For most of the song, Fantasia was screaming and yelling at appropriate points so you remembered whose song it was, with the melody of the song being performed by the back-up singers, one in particular had a very nice voice. It really was the back-up singers moment, but all eyes were on the travesty of the performer with the "Color Fuschia" hair. Now I love Fantasia, but this was not what I was expecting, and almost had the same look on my face as Simon. But maybe that was here point for being there, breaking out from what is expected.

Posted by: MikeDC | May 15, 2008 10:06 AM

Did anyone else think that DC's performance of "Last Time Ever I Saw Your Face" (or whatever the name of that song is) was one of the best performances ever on Idol? My wife and I did and we're not even huge fans of his.

Posted by: Just Wondering | May 15, 2008 10:14 AM

Fantasia looked like a rooster with constipation the way she stomped around that stage.

Not sure Simon's expression was one of scared but more of "WTF?!?!"

Coming to a toy shelf near you for Christmas by Fisher Price: Baby Elmo Sobs Doll. Complete with alternate wide-eyed drivel "Gosh, Gosh, Gosh."

Syesha - best wishes to you, girl. You're probably better off getting the hook this week and you can move on to bigger and better, a la Jennifer Hudson.

Posted by: jpstang | May 15, 2008 10:24 AM

I loved the mayor that did the handstand. Was that DC's hometown?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2008 10:29 AM

Well, not to beat a dead horse, but this column had one good thing about it...it was short. I think the guest blogger needs to work on her writing a little more before getting another guest stint. Unlike Ms. Jones who guest-blogged a few weeks back, Ms. Wiltz doesn't quite have the knack for summarizing or the right balance for the snarkiness to touch on humorous. But, it does make us appreciate our divine Ms. de M. all the more, eh?

As for last night's show, my wife and I were also quite aghast at Fantasia's "performance." I'm not sure she actually sang any note, but she sure did scream well. I will give that it was high energy, but so is a power generator, but I don't want to listen to 2.5 minutes of it. My wife who had never heard Fantasia couldn't believe that she was a previous winner, so I had to hunt up the youtube video of her "Summertime" so that she could hear Fantastia singing well.

Yes, I did notice that David C had so much more maturity in the final moments. He gave Sayesha a hug just long enough for her to collect herself from the "shock" of being eliminated. Then he took David A under his wing since David A clearly did not know what to do. I'm not sure that the AI handlers are ready for the amount of work that they'll need to do to manage David A. It will easily be three times as much work as managing virtually any other Idol in years past.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 15, 2008 10:35 AM

Ah, dang it, I missed Fantasia. I just can't watch the entire hour of the results show. I channel flip and then scoot back to Fox at 9:57 for the actual results.

Hope maybe YouTube will have a clip of Fantasia.

Agree that there was an air of resignation hanging over the show last night: obligatory video of Idolettes returning to their home town, obligatory departure of Syesha.

I think that AI needs to do SOMETHING to pep up the format for next year. It really is so self-reverant right now, so self-congratulatory, so ponderous, that it's not much fun.

I think next year, they should collect all the AI auditioners that were one away from making it to the show (remember the guy with the giant fro who was great but was the last guy who got cut from the final 12?) and give all of them one more shot. I think it would be interesting to see all the 13s get another shot.

I also think that they should think about a change to the judge's panel. I don't know - obviously Paula and Simon are keepers, but they need to do something to keep that aspect fresh too.

All pretty stale at this point. Hence all my channel flipping.

Go David C. At this point you might as well go for the win, it would be embarrassing to come in second to Baby Elmo. Just do like Kelly Clarkson and let your career take off, and later you can have amnesia about being on AI.

Posted by: NW DC | May 15, 2008 10:41 AM

I hope David Cook wins the title. Syesha should have left ages ago. I was glad to see "dreamy" Michael Johns in the audience. He already has it made. It should have been him and David Cook in the finals. LOL always.. :o)

Posted by: Maris | May 15, 2008 10:41 AM

Couple of other thoughts...

First, in response to yesterday's comments by owingsmills...yes, by late in the event, it might be alright to have the last three or four do a full song. But probably only one. We're still talking TV ratings and since there is typically one idolette in the final four that is somewhat outclassed or coping less well with the stresses of the competition, a bad 3 minute song can cause a significant number of TV viewers to tune out and not come back. And I would hazard to guess that only one of the three or four performances would be worth spending the extra time on.

Oh and I just noted that a couple of weeks ago, Jordin Sparks album passed Taylor Hicks album for total sales returning our silver-maned one to the rightful position of lowest selling Idol ever. He is proof positive of the need to limit the number of votes per phone line.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 15, 2008 10:43 AM

Some of Ms. Wiltz's comments were out of line this morning. Some were spot on. That being said, I couldn't stand watching and hearing Fantasia's screaming and screeching last night. Syesha did some of that too this season which is the main reason I didn't care for her. She should have been long gone.

Posted by: Sherri | May 15, 2008 10:47 AM

NW DC--www.rickey.org has a videoclip of Fantasia's screa...performance. Scroll down, it's about the 3rd article down.

Also, for a change in format, I think that somewhere either final four or final three, the #11 and #12 (who don't go on tour) should get a chance to do one more song. That's a good way to keep the hype for AI making stars and give them one more chance before the summer swing.

I personally think the one that the audience got the most wrong was to pop David H off at #12. Clearly the best voice in the top-12, but scandal robbed him. Don't know where he would have ended up, but clearly deserved to be going on tour ahead of several of the top-10. Go back and listen to his songs and you'll hear an amazing set of pipes. He also had good stage presence.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 15, 2008 10:51 AM

ITA with comments re guest blogger. She just doesn't have Lisa's edge and the first time I read it I thought Lisa was asleep. Then I saw it wasn't her. What fun is AI if we don't have Lisa?

Posted by: 2Stormy | May 15, 2008 10:58 AM

Wiltz deserves all the negative slamming she gets today for this atrocious column. I might feel otherwise, but she cashes checks for her writing -- which today amounted to some very negative slamming of the Final 3. The WaPo editors are wasting their money on such an untalented hack. Bring Lisa back -- stat!

Posted by: Dropping By | May 15, 2008 11:00 AM

Highlight of the season: Simon's face as Fantasia unveils that horrific number. Priceless.

I had the same look this morning when I went to read this blog and saw that Lisa didn't write it. What's the point?

Posted by: chick | May 15, 2008 11:06 AM

Fantasia's hair was not "fuchsia" Either your monitor is way off on color balance, or you just don't know the meaning of the word.

Why does Lisa abdicate at the most important events of the Idol season?

Posted by: magpie | May 15, 2008 11:08 AM

"Some totally classless comments regarding the summary.

It's too bad the internet makes it so much easier to trash someone from a keyboard when you wouldn't dare say the same things to the person directly."

Hypocrite. We can applaud Simon for calling out a wannabe's "Cabaret." We can laugh at the Coroner Munchkin. We don't need to walk on eggshells for a professional writer. This is the Washington Post, folks. Maybe it's a "blog" (which it isn't, but whatever), but it's a business that depends on subscriber satisfaction and solicits users to "analyze, comment on and even challenge" it. I love the Lisa columns. I liked the columns by prior "guests." This was a disappointment. Sorry. It was. You may disagree, but I suspect the Post will get the message.

Oh, and do you think the PB would say to Fantasia, "Hey, you're scaring all the white girls?" Doubt it. I don't even know what that means. But I know it was classy, right?

Posted by: Doorknob | May 15, 2008 11:16 AM

To those complaining about pookie dropping out in the semifinal week, TPTB have obviously decided there is more to TV than just Idol. Pookie is in New York attending the press conferences for all the major networks announcing their fall lineups. That does tend to trump the penultimate week of Idol. Unfortunately, the queen of snark is the primary TV reviewer for WaPo and thus we lose her to the bigger event.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 15, 2008 11:19 AM

Hasn't it been obvious all season that all the Idols lip synch during the chorus of the opening group performance?

I agree that Simon's expression to Fantasia was priceless.

Posted by: KH | May 15, 2008 11:23 AM

Syesha's Lament

And so, Syesha, your fun run ends
Your name I so tried to defend
I saw in you much more than most
But now your Idol time is toast

We pledge our vote to David C
He seems so Idol-like to me
Not like the other Smiley guy
Who, I hope, next week flies

Syesha, the bloggers, they think I dote
"You two should marry" one even wrote
Not really my plan, I'm married, you see
I only wanted Simon to treat you fairly

Ironic, no? Sy now gets raves
that once she des-per-ately craved
"Can't sing or emote", they once wrote of you
But oh, how many now wanted you through

And so, Syesha, it's Broadway night
We see in you that genre, right?
We'll see you on the NY stage
And I will crow "See! All the rage!"

Posted by: redrocket | May 15, 2008 11:26 AM

I dont usually watch the results shows, but i had this one on in the background. I turned around to watch them sing Aint No Stopping Us Now, and I swear I could see David C's rock cred oozing out of his body with every note!

Posted by: Mike | May 15, 2008 11:30 AM

Change in Format: I've been mulling this over this season, and come up with two options. OPTION 1: I think at the point in the competition when you have the top five, the show should bring all twelve back in and given one more chance to sing, and let the votes cast to pick the top FOUR to finish out the season and right any wrongs made previously. It could be a total shake-up. I think then the final four would have been the two Davids (dare one be David Hernandez), Carly Smithson, and Michael Johns. However, that would could be a nightmare on a grand scale. Option 2: This option would be to have an extended week for the top five point and have those who placed 6-12 come back in for one additional spot making it really a top 6. The catch is that the next week, the elimination would be the bottom two, so we pick up where left off. Kind of the way they had to do with the Idol Gives Back last season and not kicking anyone off during the charity week. I think this is the most fair option to those who through votes made it to thet op 5 , but gives someone a 'REDO'. I believe much of the public has buyer's remorse and longs for a contestant who had more of an impact on them than they originally thought. It at least might get people energized midway through the season and give a ratings jolt.

Posted by: MikeDC | May 15, 2008 11:32 AM

Whether a professional or not, the writer deserves some respect. She may have missed some things and not been "as" entertaining as Lisa - but who is? Lisa is exceptional. It's not as if she made factual errors or grammatical mistakes; people just didn't think it was extremely entertaining; perhaps just mildly amusing in parts. It doesn't mean she shouldn't be employed by the W. Post; just not this gig again. The column wasn't that bad. I totally get that everyone missed Lisa (me, too), but there's a way to go about the criticism. I think "hannie" struck the right balance. Just my opinion.

Posted by: Sheila | May 15, 2008 11:35 AM

Fantasia was great. She is the best thing to come out of American Idol by far. I bet she puts on a exciting live show. That was refreshing compare to all the syrupy blandness that has come out of Idol lately. I love how people were shocked, there so used to seeing the generic crap we've been subject to they don't know what to make of her. Its called raw talent. James Brown lives. You go Fantasia.

Posted by: kiki | May 15, 2008 12:15 PM

"benthic zone"...great...I learned something today!

Posted by: PrinceLeo | May 15, 2008 12:26 PM

Still miss my boy even though the show got too big for him. Miss Lisa, too. Don't miss voting for two hours every Tuesday night for Jason or racing through the airport to catch Idol in the Crown Room, which surprisingly had some real fans with chairs pulled up all around the screen. Don't miss rallying friends, family and 1200 folks on our email list to vote for Jason while I'm out of the country for two weeks -- which they did!! Come to think of it, I do miss all that. It was fun while it lasted.

Loved Simon's "look" during Fantasia's song. Priceless.

Even though the show has its "issues", it's still a great time and I will miss it until the next season starts. Now to plan our annual season finale party --

Hey, Mike -- is that you, bro?

Posted by: jasonfan | May 15, 2008 12:33 PM

"...all the major networks announcing their fall lineups." "...and thus we lose her to the bigger event."

Seriously, besides advertisers ($$), WHO CARES about fall TV lineups? They tell who's staying (yawn) and which new lame show (that no one knows or cares ANYTHING about) will be added. Trust me, one-tenth of the people will care about that column, and rightly so.

Next time send a cub reporter to the networks and leave the quality here.

Posted by: DoubleD | May 15, 2008 12:33 PM

Ah, Lisa is brilliant, not everyone can be her, and that's okay -- today's column is a'ight. I work out of my home, so this blog is my virtual water cooler, and glad that the Post had someone stationed beside it and I think she captured the weird frenzy of Fantasia's performance in words -- not an easy feat :-). Though I don't always agree with Lisa by the way -- I like David Cook a whole lot more than she does and don't find him smug at all. And now that the stylists have had their way with him, I think he's become attractive (we should not hold his former "coroner munchkin" haircut against him forever -- please don't unearth any photos of me from the 1980s wearing those large square glasses fashionable then). Although, note to Blogging Sub Teresa, nor do I think he's "rocker lite" -- that's a term I think better suited to, oh, Bo Bice. He's come up with several surprises this season, he's taken a lot of chances and not all of them have worked, but when they do, they've been interesting, so I give him a lot of credit for that more exploratory attitude, unusual on this show and I'd love to see more of it. We'll find out who he is when the first album comes out, and I'll certainly be interested to hear it.

You all would probably enjoy reading Sasha Frere-Jones piece on American Idol from this week's New Yorker. He has some good insights as to how it makes the audience listen to pop music, and also has a few apt characterizations that I got a kick out of: David A. is described as a "woodland creature" and "one of the few variables Jackson seems able to track is pitch."
http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/musical/2008/05/19/080519crmu_music_frerejones

Posted by: owingsmills | May 15, 2008 12:46 PM

Geez folks, I'm with Sheila re PB. The excoriation of TW has turned into a histrionic feeding frenzy of snark-deprived readers. Some of this sounds like AOL blogs. Seriously, direct your vitriol where it belongs most: the F***ing producers of this show.

I miss Lisa too - reading her is like having the perfect croissant with my coffee, BUT, I also adore the many great snark comments and thoughtful observations I read in all of your posts.

Gotta shout out to: jpstang for

["Fantasia looked like a rooster with constipation the way she stomped around that stage. Not sure Simon's expression was one of scared but more of "WTF?!?!"
Coming to a toy shelf near you for Christmas by Fisher Price: Baby Elmo Sobs Doll. Complete with alternate wide-eyed drivel "Gosh, Gosh, Gosh."} LMAO.

Also, to NW DC: ["I think that AI needs to do SOMETHING ... It really is so self-reverant right now, so self-congratulatory, so ponderous, that it's not much fun."]Perfect summation, and Seabiscuit's pomposity makes me gag.

Also, the most important change they can make: Limit phone calls. Period. End of story.

The few times I could look at screen during the idolette home town visits scared me: all those sobbing, screaming tweeners and their bizarre mothers. Do we really all live on the same planet? Depressing.


Definitely some lip syncing at beginning and end of show. The AI producers can't afford any more blubbering mishaps like they had with Asia, Ramiele, etc., esp. not at this stage of viewership. Also, VERY few singers have the training/experience to sing AND dance. Syesha was only one who could of all the idolettes. Because of the 2 Davids, they can only do very amateur youth theater choreography - easily one of the most embarrassing aspects of this show, made worse with smaller numbers of singers. Asking these guys to sashay around stage and sing would result in an even bigger disaster.

Best moment, agreed: Simon's face during Fantasia. That was the screechiest performance ever, and sad too, because Fantasia is capable and has delivered. I also love her snappy personality - truly a breath of fresh air in that treacly studio. I hated her singing but loved how it changed up the Disneyesque style of show.

Final shout-out to Redrocket for that lovely poem for Syesha.;-) You are such a sentimental dear.

Posted by: Idle fan | May 15, 2008 12:52 PM

DadWannaBe at 10:15 a.m., thanks for the link to the clip of Fantasia's performance. Cowell's expression was PRICELESS. Obviously this was the high point of the evening.

Posted by: NW DC | May 15, 2008 1:29 PM

Idle fan - thanks for the shout out! Like you and many others here today, we love our Queen's writing style (and I bet there's no live chat tomorrow either... dang!) but I've equally come to enjoy the snarkfest that ensues when we can post the witty repartee that has made this blog famous in our own little worlds. :-)

Posted by: jpstang | May 15, 2008 1:43 PM

Personally I thought the Fantasia performance/Cowl scowl after was worth 10,000 words!

I agree that her performance was more what I call "hollerin'" than singing - however - mad props to her for an energy level appropriate to a big stadium concert. If you want to be an Idol - show us you have sufficient blood pressure to rise to the occasion - please.

It was as good to me, in its own way, as Fergie's acrobatics on "Barracuda".

By comparison, the poor Idolettes looked just like what they are - amateurs/inexperienced/unformed/untrained.

I truly haven't seen that level of palpable energy since Tina Turner - and that is saying a whole lot.

As to whether the reaction was "scared" or "horrified" - it matters little. It was the perfect antidote to Disney Disease (which is closely akin to Sleeping Sickness).

And what was that in her mouth? A diamond "grille"? Oh my Lord - that big smile at the end had me just thinking "You go girl."

Maybe she doesn't want to sing a lfietime of "Porgy & Bess" - and maybe audiences don't want to see or hear it. Maybe we all need a shot of adrenalin to knock off the complacency.

It left me wishing that each and every guest and mentor on this program was as much a powerhouse. Truly, the only adequate descriptor to me was "awesome". I was struck with awe; or as Simon might say, "gob smacked".

A dose of adrenalin to get the old heart pumping was just the Rx (or 'scrip) the doctor ordered for this Casper Milquetoast show.

Posted by: Jean | May 15, 2008 1:55 PM

Ok - Does anyone else agree that this column has gone from being clever and snarky to just being negative. (or to quote this column "Gag. Gag. Gag."

Posted by: BlakeVa | May 15, 2008 2:12 PM

Jean--the only disagreement that I have is that I think that Melinda Doolitte last season conveyed that energy of performance. If you check out her songs like "Trouble is a Woman", "Have a Nice Day", "Nutbush City Limits" and "I'm a Woman", she has it. In fact, the judges frequently compared her to a young Gladys Knight and young Tina Turner because of her energy and power on-stage.

The difference to me is that Melinda did those things and still sang. Fantasia screamed (last night). I've enjoyed some of Fantasia's previous performances, but this one wasn't one of her best, IMHO.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 15, 2008 2:20 PM

Brief commentary. Looked at DadWannaBe's clip just now, and flat out guffawed. The Cowell Look was definitely the most startling thing to behold, given his normally cocksure (cocky? cockish?) behavior.

He looked like a man whose flabber had been truly ghasted....

Posted by: Anonynonon | May 15, 2008 2:33 PM

Have enjoyed commentary today.

The best moment in show: Simon's face during Fantasia.

2nd best - Fantasia kicking a**. Hate the screeching put loved her own the stage performance. She was in charge. Kept hoping she bring out a weedwhacker and terminate the mosh mavens thus relieving us of some of our misery. Oh wait, Lisa's dad is going to do that next week as part of finale.

3rd best- Syesha's classy farewell. She didn't blather, just this: "I just want to thank you." Very sincere and flashed that million dollar smile. I was impressed.

Worst moment? Too many to choose from. I had to mute tv during hometown visits and fold laundry until those were over.

I think David C. is getting worried that he might win this. Wasn't his plan from what I can tell. On the other hand, he does have a cancer-stricken brother, so family could probably use some financial help..hmm. He is carrying a strange burdern, seems to me.

Posted by: Holly | May 15, 2008 2:49 PM

CNN has posted that next season Fox will cut the results show back to 30 minutes. (YAY!) Wasn't it 30 minutes for several seasons, then ooched up to 60 minutes, which was 50 minutes too long?

While they're at it, Fox could do the show a favor and get rid of Yo Dawg Check it Out. Paula and her shoes have to stay, though.

How about having a guest judge every week once they hit the top 12? Lord Andrew did a great job, though I should hope we don't have another ALW week next time. Or Neil Diamond, and I love Neil Diamond, but honestly.

How about a Tommy Lee week? Hehehe. Just kidding.

Piers would make an interesting judge, but I don't know if Fox would put in two Brits.

Didn't dialidol have Cookie running 2-to-1 against Archie in the calls last night? If that's true, man, what a dilemma. . . vote for Archie to save Cookie from the fate of AI production, or vote for Cookie and hope they treat him right.

Idunno.

Posted by: Lane | May 15, 2008 3:13 PM

Yes, Dial Idol showed D.Cook on top by a sizable margin which suggests that Dreadlock boy's fan base did not move lockstep to Smiley Gator. Guess there were a lot of fans who simply liked edgy and different.

I think big question is where do Syesha's votes go other than boycotting the two D's.

I'm going to vote Cook and trust that if he wins he'll be able to handle it. I cannot bear thought of Smiley on magazine covers, on interview shows, etc.

Posted by: Holly | May 15, 2008 4:02 PM

Hmmm...not sure about that. DC has been ahead of DA for several weeks running now. I think that DC has a much stronger fan base now. The only thing keeping it close is that the DA fans are the ones that vote and vote and vote to "save David Archuleta". I saw on one blog that one woman voted 991 times in her two hour window. That's just sick. Makes me think of the William Shatner "Get a Life" skit on SNL.

Despite those fans who are auto-dialing and texting like crazy, DC has still been leading DA in on-line polls, dialidol and other on-line sources.

Well, no matter which one wins, they'll be more successful than either Hicks or Sparks. And I have a feeling that the #2 will also become one of the top-selling runners-up. I have a feeling both will out-sell both Hicks and Sparks.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 15, 2008 4:09 PM

Dad - You and I will just have to agree to disagree on this one.

I find Gladys Knight (who I really like) a LOT more smooth mellow than Tina T - who is raw and somewhat relentless and hits you like a blast furnace. Kinda like whether you prefer creamy or crunchy.

I think there is a time and a place for each - depending on the mood you're in. To me, AI had become such a vanilla pudding this season that I was thrilled for a bite of a red hot chili pepper thrown in the stir fry pan.

Posted by: Jean | May 15, 2008 4:40 PM

My suggestion would be to make this the show into what it purports to be - a singing competition. Right now, the focus is too much on song arrangement. The goal today is not about singing well, although that will certainly help, but about rearranging a known song into some clever modern way to make it "yours".

I agree that song arrangement is important. Contestants shouldn't be singing songs that don't fit their style or are not entertaining. But the playing field should be lessoned. They should bring on more professionals to help select and arrange songs for the contestants. The idea is to preserve good song arrangement while making it less of a factor in the judging, as all singers will have selected good songs. This is not to suggest that the singers won't have input. They will have final say. David Cook can still be David Cook. But Carly Simon's can get assistance in finding something that really shows off their talented voice.


This would bring in several positive changes:

a) Better performances from everybody would translate into a more entertaining show.

b) Good singers would stay longer as they stand less of change of being out "song arranged".

c) This would more closely mimic the real world, where professionals help pop singers pick and arrange songs.

d) This may translate into better post Idol album sales. As singing talent prevails, and not song arranging talent.

Posted by: American Idol Fan | May 15, 2008 4:45 PM

If you hate AI so much, I respectfully suggest you occupy yourself with something that would be more fulfilling.

Posted by: jshu | May 16, 2008 1:35 PM

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