Will The Better David Please Stand Up?

22 05 2008

I had my money on the right David, as Cook goes home bagging the penultimate prize.

After 19 weeks, this single night pulled 97.5 million votes and 56 percent went to my bet. Buzzed and stoked, I followed the show until the final leg was put to rest –although an uninvited snitch gave me an unsolicited report– and I must say that I am very much relieved of the results. I sooo knew he’ll win.

Pre announcement, we were treated with a bit of the American Idol tour that the magic twelve will be bringing on the road. Given that I won’t be able to witness the spectacle, it was nice that I at least got a glimpse of the concert. It was also a treat that my favourite idol, Jason Castro, sang his much-loved “Hallelujah.” It’s nice to note that he is the only performer who did a solo for the night. It was charming how his hand shook while he belted a piece that endeared him to the judges and took our attention. Try as he might, holding the microphone with his two hands didn’t control the tremors brought about by adrenaline. He’s cute like that, ahihi.

Special participations from Guru Pitka (Mike Myers), Seal, Donna Summers, Jimmy Kimmel, Bryan Adams, ZZ Top, Jonas Brothers, George Michael and our very own Reynaldo Lapuz (I am your brother, your best friend forever famed). Yeah I know what you’re thinking, what’s up with the second rate washed up act? Well the truth is, American Idol is just preparing us with the obvious. They’ve produced more washed-up-has-beens than winners so why not celebrate them by getting performers we haven’t seen top the charts for years. Oh yeah, with the exception of Reynaldo Lapuz, he’s still to be washed up and he hasn’t even seen the light of the bottom of the charts.

Allow me to digress. What the hell is Jordin Sparks wearing? A tin foil? And damn, Blake Lewis is so obvious he’s wanting to switch places with her. Also, good job on the Gladys Night clip with Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr and Ben Stiller but following it with a Carry Underwood performance might not be that smart. The funny guys and Ms. Night is just a tough act to follow. By this time, the program is growing old and we start to wonder if someone switched the channel to VH1: Out Of Frame Special.

When the audience started to get tired of the long-winded exhibition, Ryan Seacrest reels us back to the purpose of the show. This is when I’m reminded how stoked I am in hearing the good news myself. The judges offer a short advice and feedback before the roll out. Like always Paula is useless, Randy is a dog and Simon delivers astute words. He summarizes his experience with the two Davids and how he felt after last night’s performance.

So there we were, Ryan articulates the David who won and followed it with the word Cook. It was biting and hilarious for Archie’s part. The smile that seemed sweet for many turned stoically strange.  I was hoping he would cry and be the bratty baby that he is. Archie carried out a first-rate practice of his post defeated grimace the other day thus he is well equipped to receive the blow … haha, now he’s given a reason to cry. Instead, he moved to a corner and put on a plastic smile. The self-deprecating Cook on the other hand, takes it in stride, with a bow and with his cute smugness tried his darndest best not to let the water works start. It was sweet and gratifying.

Going back to the judges, it seems unlikely that Cook is going home with the bacon when all they ever did to him the night before is nothing short of bashing. I mean come on, they almost said Archie is the winner but in truth, Cook is leaving with almost 60 percent of the vote. This I declare to be their lack of connection with the general viewers. They’ve maintained a distant pulse of what is really out there thus it is safe to conclude that eliminating Michael Johns, Carly Smithson or even the interview-challenged Jason Castro might be a mistake. This ultimately puts a question on their purpose. Do we really need them?

Oh well. Right now, all we have to wait for is how Cook will prove his worth.





David vs David

21 05 2008

It’s a tall order … they have got to get a real winner this time, not just for this season but a winner who can sustain a carrier after the curtain goes down.  There have been 7 seasons, but so far, they have just produced two talents that can survive after exiting the contest (Clarkson and Underwood).  The competition have suffered the noteriety of successfully snubbing real talents that can fish revenue (Daughtry and Dream Girls famed, Jennifer Hudson).

However, before I assault you with my gibberish tirade of how the last two days of Season 7 went, let me just say … dang, that’s the corniest opening I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life.  What’s the deal?! Who’d thought of introducing this high-ratings show with a boxing announcer and analyst?  He should be shot, or better yet exterminated – people like him/ her who are under the pretense that they are artistic are vermins.  Honestly, there was no need for a cornball circus just to sell.  The show’s a winner without so much as a blah blah, like wearing boxing robes.

I think I need my chill pill.

The Nokia Theatre looked pack to the brim to witness the two Davids slugging it out.  The first two songs chosen by music mogul Clive David was a good warm up for every cheers, jeers and mayhem that ensued in each side.  Also, they were simultaneously coached by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who gladly reprised his role a few weeks back during Theatre Song Week.  He leads them with resonating chutzpah and advice to excel in every presentation and perhaps bring out more talent juice out from them.  First round according to Simone, goes to Archuleta.

I just wanted to say that while being provided feedback, Archuleta looked like a sissy… what’s the up with looking like you’re about to cry?  Are you buying sympathy or are you giving us a preview of how you will look like pre breakdown if you don’t win.  Cook on the other hand took it like a man … with balls and a thank you.

Second round, the contestants select the song. Cook goes first; Guitar in hand a band behind him, he belts to his heart’s content but Simone was not impressed.  After a commercial break, young David croons us with his chosen ballad.  This is the same formula that kept him going for weeks and he decided to use the same strategy to score.  Truthfully, I wasn’t crazy about the song, Simon states the reason why (egotistical and self-centred).  And again, Simone influences the votes by expressing his choice – Archuleta.

Last round, Cook sang a song he has not sang before.  Archie on the other hand covered a song we’ve heard him chant many times over.  Cook suffers a wrong song choice for such a pivotal moment and jabs a bit on Archuleta’s choice (why sing a song I did before?) to explain himself.  Once more, the young David takes it home.

Again, let me just make a statement … what the hell? Why does Archuleta feel the need to look like he’s about to have a breakdown in every feedback session?  I freekin hate it when someone is trying to manipulate the voters sympathy, I will only buy his drama if I see tears but until then, get a grip.  Just sing and say thank you for the pleasant observations, daggammit. Talk about hokey.

The show ended with the three judges conspiring that the night (day or afternoon, wherever you’re from; there are 130 countries watching) belonged to the young David. Only two song choice was of their own volition whilst the first one was swung by Clive Davis. Obviously, Archie kept to his same method while Cook dabbled with what he thought the fans call for in order to reel in the votes.

David Cook’s songs include; U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”,  Emily Shackelton’s “Dream Big”, and Collective Soul’s “The World I Know.” Only one, earned him a good review from the judges and this was a song chosen by a genius for him. The latter, proved a risk he should not have taken. Simon was right, he should have sang “Hello” or his recent chart hit “Always Be My Baby”.

Archie’s songs include: Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” Ryan Gillmor’s self absorbed “In This Moment,” and the undying John Lennon ballad “Imagine”. I’m sure by now after reading my invectives, you’ve identified that Archie seem to have won the judges opinions. But if that’s the case, there’s no need to open the lines for four hours in order for fans to vote, so yes, there is still hope. American Idol might just make the right choice this time.

To be continued …





So who is JC?

20 05 2008

JC has dreadlocks. JC wears a big smile. JC feels awkward in front of the camera. JC plays the guitars. JC haven’t been in the beach for a while. JC is charming. JC became popular after joining American Idol. JC’s real name is Jason Castro. JC is my favourite idol.

 The thing about me and American Idol is I always go for the dark horse. I like those with raw talent that doesn’t throttle you with octave after octave of notes. What Jason Castro successfully accomplished throughout the competition was to be himself and just sing from his heart. Watching him continue week after week has been a breath of fresh air and it somehow lulled me to a laid-back setting. Watching him proved to be a vivid and calming experience, I think that’s what you get from pensive singers.

He has the ability to be haunting too.  He tells a story while singing, and he bares so much soul that you can hear the song being played in the loneliest movie (just when the hero sets out for a journey) or perhaps at a closing credit of a coming of age film. He identifies with his song choice with such sincerity it drives a knife deep enough to hurt but not to kill. His rendition of Hallelujah (video above) proves this emotional resonance quite succinctly.

Although JC was unable to get to top 3 I still think he’s a very good singer and I would most definitely love to watch him live – unplug. His exit might have come off as stale and predictable but this was the time (according to numerous reports) that he was ready to go home. He felt that his journey in the contest is getting the best of him and the absence of a decent explanation proved that he’s had his fill of the limelight.

I think it’s just astute not to go to the dark side. It sells just to be the pensive dark horse that he really is.





American Idol Season 7 Marathon

19 05 2008

Been sick for days now so I decided to just sit home, recuperate, and watch the television. 

The last time I religiously followed American Idol was during their 5th Season wherein a weird silver haired seemingly epileptic singer won; honestly, I’m having a hard time remembering his name. My friend was right, he’s forgettable.

I was lucky to be able to catch a marathon of the show presented by Star World before their last hurrah on Tuesday night wherein the two Davids (Archuleta and Cook) will slug it out for the coveted post as Season 7’s American Idol. Truth be told, I do like the show. Like millions of people watching, it presents the proverbial escapism, and yes, we get to live vicariously in their dreams.  Although I have other important things to do (like write, clean my room, pluck my eyebrows or simply rest and stay in bed), I decided to indulge and waste my time watching the show. I’ve heard many of my co-workers talking about it for months now and I thought that it’s time that I get in accord with the pop that’s American Idol.

I started early morning of Saturday and enjoyed the auditions thoroughly. I’ve seen and laughed on weirdoes, clowns and nutcases trying to get a golden ticket (really, it’s just a yellow bond paper) under the pretence that they can sing. I was also fortunate to watch the raw untapped talent that is to make the cut. Noon arrives and the house help called me for lunch, I asked that it be brought to the living room so I won’t be taken away from the hilarity of the contestants and Simon Cowell – my favourite judge. After the auditions, Hollywood Week follows wherein heads continue to roll. Drama starts to get thick as every contestant who can sing needs to prove that they can sing well.

During the Hollywood Week, the judge becomes ferocious and blunt; the contestants on the other hand, either slowly crack under pressure or turn to vicious players – even hiring vocal coaches out of their own pocket. One even asked the band to step out of the room since he’s having difficulty meeting them eye to eye. After proving that they can sing well, this time they need to prove that they are strong enough and thick (skinned) enough to take whatever curveball is thrown at them. And from the Hollywood Week comes the Top 24.

The journey in chopping the Top 24 to Top 12 started to take a toll. This was when I switched the channel to watch John Tucker Must Die (big mistake) and took a shower. When I came back, they were still trying to narrow down the list. What continually amazed me is Simon’s tenacious expertise in channelling what the viewers are thinking. The other judge (Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson) are just too kind or perhaps timid to pass judgement. In all honesty, I would like them to judge away. Say whatever hell it is they want to and don’t be a suck ups to fans of the contestants who immediately boos them if they hear something not to their liking.

Towards the end of the day, there were 12. From here, everyone doesn’t only know how to sing but they sing every piece thrown at them with such reverberating bravado, one can easily conclude that even if they don’t win, they have an exceptional talent that can bag them a singing contract and leave their day job. Nevertheless, someone needed to go home. Some should’ve been sooner compared to others and some departure just came too soon.

The marathon continues to Sunday and the slugfest starts to become cutthroat. Contestant had to own the song like it was theirs and needs to come off like they can sell it. The immediate problem they face is the pay off that will come with the judges tirade. The viewers are aware that as much as we hate Simon Cowell’s nonsensical comments, we know that he does have a point. He is able to feed the general populations votes thus it’s him you need the good comments from. Contestants have, time and again, disregarded Simon’s response; they continued to sing just for the audience and not for the person who asserts the votes. Everyone knows that if he starts saying cabaret, karaoke and whinny, you either are shown the door next week or you’re at the bottom three. Some are brave enough to take risks but most of the time they sound more like they are just making a cover and not owning the song. Most times, it’s just luck of the draw, in this case luck of the song choice.

But all those sufferings are given little treats such as getting coached by Mariah Carey and Andrew Lloyd Webber (Evita, Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Superstar), getting chauffered by a limo and taken from State to State by a private jet and a personal thank you from the President after raising enough funds to help people in need. Plus, let us not forget the celebrated fame. During the Sunday marathon, we were also given a short respite when the show pre-empted their usual parade of talents and rallied the world for charity (Idol Gives Back). The likes of Bono, Brad Pitt, Annie Lennox and Robin Williams asked to dial in and give whatever they can to help the people who were ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and the children of Africa dying of neglect.

At the end of the day (I checked the clock and its just a few hours to Monday) it showed two powerful players. Everyone had speculated the strength of the two Davids and to no surprise they are the ones we will be cheering on for the last two shows. It was nice to see Syesha Mercado step out. She was never really a favourite and I’d rather have Michael Johns in her place. Below are the top 12, in order of elimination; ones with a star should have stayed a little longer – I think.

10.     David Hernandez

9.       *Amanda Overmyer

8.       Chekizie Eze

7.       Ramiele Malubay

6.       *Micheal Johns

5.       Kristy Lee Cook

4.       Carly Smithson

3.       Brooke White

2.       Jason Castro

1.       Sayesha Mercado

So now I am left waiting for the grand finale on Tuesday. I hope David Cook goes home with the prize. I’m so stoked.