Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Judges to Ramiele Malubay: Never been so bored "In my life"

There are really no words to describe how excited I am for tonight. I've been waiting years for them to sing Beatles music and tonight is the night. I almost can't believe it's really here. I hope the contestants choose their songs wisely and I hope they don't change them around too much - these songs are classics - the contestants really need to walk a fine line between making the songs their own and completely butchering them.

Tonight is also the unveiling of the new "American Idol" set. It's actually pretty cool - I like how the band is up on top instead of some pit. It looks nice - there may be a few too many "American Idol" logos around the stage, but I suppose it's only appropriate.

Well, enough with the idle chatter - let's get on with the music. This week, along with their selections, we get to hear more about where the contestants are from. Syesha Mercado is up first tonight. She is from Sarasota, Fla., currently living in Miami. She is currently a student and a working actress - she says she was always active in dance and music and remembers always being surrounded by music. She says her mom is a singer and she remember listening to the oldies station in the car with her parents. She says it's exciting because she's getting a chance to sing music she grew up listening to.

She sings "Got to Get You into My Life," which was on the Beatles' "Revolver" album. The first few lines are awful - totally out of tune, but then she starts to get a little bit better. I'm not sure her voice is well suited to this song. First off, the original has an edge to it and she's singing this song with a very fluid, smooth kind of sound - it sounds kind of odd and out of place. Plus, she's on this big, brand new stage and she just kind of stands there, never really utilizing the space she has. I don't know - it wasn't terrible, but it's a weak start to the night, I think.

Randy tells her it was a nice arrangement, kind of like the one Earth, Wind & Fire did, but tells her that it started a little bit rough, with a few pitch problems, but that by the middle of it, she started to get into it. He tells her she needs to loosen up and have fun, but that it was all right. Paula tells her it started out pitchy, but that halfway through, she found her zone. Simon actually disagrees and says it was better than all right. He says it was a great choice of song. He says she looked very nervous and that she needs to get past that, but he thinks she was much better than last week. What did she sing last week, again? It couldn't have been that good if I can't even remember...oh yeah, she sang that Whitney Houston song... I guess Simon's right - this week is better because last week was incredibly boring. But still, it wasn't great - it was just OK.

Chikezie actually looks kind of nice tonight - I'm a big fan or argyle sweaters. I'm not sure the tie matches the sweater, but still, overall, I like the look. Anyway, he says he's from Inglewood, Calif., which is just outside of Los Angeles. He used to work at LAX as a screener, the guy who tells you you can't bring your drink past security, who checks bags and feels people up. He says he grew up listening to Nigerian cultural music, not really American music, but he says that while he practicing for the show, his mom started singing along with him. When he asked her how she knew the songs, she said she listened them all the time at home, which he says is not true. So, he feels like he's playing catch up while he had an encyclopedia at home.

He sings "She's a Woman" and to be honest, I'm not incredibly familiar with this song. Now, I grew up on the Beatles - my father is completely fanatical about them, but I admit that even as a child, I would skip over songs that didn't appeal to me. So, while I do recognize the song, it's not one of my favorites, not one that I know by heart or anything like that. I do know that there's no banjo in the original, though.

Huh... well, I'm not sure what to say about Chikezie tonight. I could repeat for the hundredth time how I don't like his attitude and I hope he goes home, but let's put that aside for a moment. Let's call a momentary truce - just for tonight - because I think I like this quirky arrangement he put together, I like the hint of a country sound, I like the banjo. Plus, he's performing - he's moving around the stage, he's dancing, he's really giving it his all out there. He must have really felt like he was going home last week and now he's acting like he has nothing to lose. He's just letting loose, giving it what looks like 150 percent. I'm still not his No. 1 fan, but he's moved up a slight notch tonight. He kind of updated a classic without destroying it or disrespecting it in any way. So, at least for tonight, I'm going to hold my fire.

Randy tells him he was thoroughly entertained. He says he loved the arrangement, loved the down South sound, loved the falsetto. He says he smashed it. Paula says she was waiting for this and that the reward paid off. I have a feeling she meant to say the risk paid off, but whatever. Simon says he's really surprised that he agrees with Randy and Paula. He says that what he loved about it was that unlike Syesha, he's actually changed within a week, that he took control over the stage, that it was a unique version of the song and that he thought it was terrific.

Ramiele Malubay says she is from Miramar, Fla., and that she works at a sushi place. She says she pours soy sauce into little, little cups and caps them and she goes home smelling like soy sauce. Wow... talk about fascinating. She also says she comes from a musical family - her sister plays the guitar and drums, so they put the two together - her sister plays guitar and she sings once in a while, for fun. She says her family is from the Philippines and that he has fond memories of listening to her parents sing "Yesterday" in the car.

She sings "In My Life," dedicating it to her close friends, who have left the show already... probably Danny, her BFF. She starts the song on the stairs, facing away from the audience, looking up at a camera and it's so cheesy, I almost want to fast-forward right past the whole thing. It's just so dramatic. And her dress is just not cute - she's wearing a strapless black dress with this huge patent leather-looking white belt under her bust... She has horrible taste in clothes - I haven't seen her wear one nice thing this season. Plus, to top it off, tonight, her singing is terrible. It could be that she's just been better in the past, but the truth is, that even without a comparison, this performance is just not good.

You know what it is? I noticed this a few weeks back, but never mentioned it - her phrasing is terrible - she takes breaths in very strange places and chops up phrases. It takes away from the flow of the song, I think. For example, there's a spot where she sings, "All these places...gasp... had... gasp... their moments..." It's just so choppy - and dull. I feel like she gets more boring every week. The week she did the disco song, the judges didn't think it was great, but I kind of liked it, because you actually saw a bit of fun in her. She keeps relying on the ballads and that's eventually going to get old. In fact, it's already old for me.

Randy tells it was kind of pretty but it was also kind of pretty boring. He says he kept waiting for her to do something special and interesting to the song but that it just laid there. Paula starts by telling her she looks lovely - blatant lie - but that it was pretty safe and that she's holding back. Simon says he was bored to tears throughout the entire song, from the awful standing on the stairs to the walking in the middle with a dreary song choice, which did absolutely nothing for her. He says it was forgettable, boring and he expects a lot better from her because she's better than that. Ryan then asks Randy if he thinks she did enough to make it to next week and Randy actually says he doesn't know, that it was pretty boring. Oh geez... is she actually pouting like a 2-year-old? I can't even take it anymore. Next...


pam said...

I look forward to reading your review of AI after every show. Your opinions are so like mine I just laugh out loud. Love Jason and as you,starting to get over the David Cook hair factor to root like crazy for him. Guys are killin it this season.Thanks for the reading.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved Chickezie this week. He looked great, he did a super version of the song, and he looked like he was thoroughly enjoying his time on stage. I was moved by his enthusiasm and his joyful reaction to the judges' comments.

What I found irritating, though, was how Ryan Seacrest rubbed Chickezie's sweaty head. I felt that was very disrespectful. My husband said that there is something a bit racially insensitive about it, too, although I doubt if Ryan meant any harm. It almost ruined the moment for me.

Anonymous said...

Ramiele, although a sweetheart, made a foolish choice of song this week. Her sentimentality and her youth are most likely to blame. I don't know, I just felt she sounded like she was turning it into a Disney movie theme song version of "In My Life." Bad decision.

Anonymous said...

I thought Syesha was pretty good. She sounded mighty fine and she is so pretty, isn't she? My husband really likes her, but didn't like her version of the song. He can't stand it when singers change around the classic Beatles songs. Never mind that Earth, Wind, and Fire did it, too. He still resents it.