Idol Chatter: It's Raining Men
Yeah, OK, the boys did improve from last week, but we can't say we were blown away. However we were quite intrigued by it being "dedication night," which to our recollection has not happened in seasons past.
Phil Stacey kicked off the night by dedicating John Waite's "Missing You" to his buddies in the Navy. Randy said it was "hot." We thought it was "not." But we do agree with Simon -- he'll be back next week.
That leads us to Sanjaya. Sanjaya, Sanjaya, Sanjaya (sigh). We would love to see him return next week, but at the same time, we want him to see him sent home safely before getting permanently discouraged.
Our boy Chris earned a big up from Simon, with whom he had a brief tiff last week. And we learned his wife is a total babe. Way to go, dude.
Blake busted into some scatting action while Brandon bored us to tears. We also learned other Chris and J.I. apparently have the same "lives like she's 20" grandma who loves to dance, only he chose to perform Jason Mraz's "Geek in the Pink" whereas we would have sang "Proud Mary."
The most pleasant surprise of the night came when we learned Mr. Sundance Head does not entirely suck any longer. He rendition of "Ride Sally Ride" put the others to shame. Then he admitted to putting hairspray in his beard, which left us more than a little concerned.
Idol Chatter: Give 'Em The Boot
After announcing the list of guest judges for the season (Bon Jovi! Gwen! J-Lo! Barry Gibb!) the contestants launched into an atrocious group performance of Tears For Fears' "Sowing the Seeds of Love," complete with slow motion fist pump choreography, horribly off-key harmonies and reinforcement that the girls still remain one, no, 10, up on the boys.
When it finally got down to eliminations, the first to go was Paul Kim. America, what's the deal? This guy is actually one of the better male singers. Apparently he wasn't wearing his lucky underwear?
JI honestly feels bad about the kick 'em while they're down farewell performance each contestant is forced to give. It's just painful. Plus they always sound like crap. Case in point, the first female to get the boot, Amy. Ouch.
Nicole and Rudy also got sent home, which wasn't terribly surprising.
JI was particularly pleased to hear Daniel Powter is no longer the send-off tune, however, "Bad Day" was replaced with, um, a Chris Daughtry song. Right, like that's not gonna get old.
Idol Chatter: Girls Rule, Boys Drool All Over Them
Let's just get this out of the way: Lakisha Jones killed and nearly every other woman who took the stage last night was a joker compared to her. Sure, she sang another Idol's (Jennifer Hudson) "song" ("And I Am Telling You, I'm Not Going") which was kinda lame because, honestly, they sound an awful lot alike. But still, can we just skip to the part where she sings all the time? K, thx.
So beyond that, we also were fans of former backup singer Melinda Doolittle, who was so down to earth and sang Aretha's "Since You Been Gone" (not to be confused with another Idol classic, "Since U Been Gone) into another time zone. Savannah singer Stephanie Edwards made Prince into Princess on "How Come You Don't Call Me," kinda giving us goosebumps.
Alaina massacred one of our favorite Pretenders' songs -- waytogohighfive -- and Nicole Tranquillo's take on Chaka Khan's "Stay" had us running for a hot shower and a bar of soap. While it was clear some gals weren't trying enough -- that's you, Sabrina and Amy -- Tranquillo tried too hard.
Props for presence from the totally completely awesomely adorable Tom-boyish Leslie Hunt (who, let's be honest, will probably get cut) and Jordin Sparks, who needs to dig in her heels, find her feet and get all razzle-dazzle on our azzles.
So, boys, listen up: don't suck anymore. The girls blew nearly every one of you out of the water and there isn't a patch of chest hair that could convince us otherwise.
We just got finished sifting through all the photos we took of Arcade Fire on Friday (Feb. 16) and in retrospect, we find it hard to believe the Montreal-based group was, collectively, as sick as a pack of dogs.
Apparently some fantastic form of cruddy nose and fever plagued the 10-strong group all week, giving frontman Win Butler another reason to sweat on stage. Still, the group sounded strong, lacking in banter and making up for it by previewing most of the tracks from their upcoming "Neon Bible" (we're early fans of "Keep the Car Running"). Of "Funeral," they performed "Rebellion (Lies)" and Regine, who used to be so fearful of the mic, tackled that sucker on "Haiti," working her waist sash and moving like a diva.
At the end, the group also climbed down to the floor to perform "Wake Up," in the middle of the crowd and, coincidentally, right in front of this particular Jaded Insider. Violinist Sarah Neufeld nearly poked our eye out with her bow while Will Butler's hair shook out all sorts of perspiration onto onlookers.
The band has always been the strong but silent type -- of the times we've seen them perform, rarely is so much of a sentence spoken in between songs and they have a history of clamming up when it comes to press. Still, its this pure, mysterious edge that makes shows like the ones they did last week at Judson Church so exciting -- they certainly could have chosen a larger venue (and, while they were at it, better sound), they could have tagged openers or backstage pass givaways or shout-outs to all the famous people who come to their shows (Kanye was on the guestlist but unfortunately couldn't make the set). But they don't. They put MP3s on toll-free hotlines and, in terms of the length of their set list, leave the party early. With the crowd hungry for much, much more, the band finished after just a little over an hour.
And sorry to break your little indie hearts, ladies and gents, but every Arcade Fire band member is "taken." "They're kinda the opposite of rock 'n' roll in that way... real committed types," playfully quipped the band's management to us after the show. Many congratulations to Will B. on his recent engagement!
Explosions In Warsaw
Jaded Insider had the opportunity to trek over to Warsaw in Brooklyn to check out how Texas defines indie with instrumental foursome Explosions In The Sky. This was the first of two nights in New York before they head overseas to continue their promotional tour for their release of "All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone." What better way to kick off their first release since composing the score for the 2004 film "Friday Night Lights" than with homemade Polish kielbasa, pierogis and the famous Zywiec (not homemade but lovely nonetheless). And oh yeah, the music was good, too.
Once the show began, it was hard not to find yourself swaying in unison with Explosions' hypnotic, snake-like rhythms, only to find the trance broken and everything suddenly soaring out of control. Turning our attention with one strum of the guitar or crash of the symbol, we all returned to bob our heads to this anthemic rock symphony. The natural echo of the room only amplified the dramatic dynamic changes from a state melancholic comatose to euphoric shock.
The lack of singing didn't render the crowd any less involved than at a usual rock show. Indeed, it was refreshing to see such a diverse group (young scenesters, old beatniks) react with such intensity.
"Our live show is a little weird," drummer Chris Hrasky says. "We just kind of start and there's no banter. It's one long song, almost." Yeah, we noticed.