Idol Chatter: That Was ... Unpleasant
Let's get the "news" out of the way first: Jason Y. (who, honestly, I didn't even remember he was a contestant when he started to perform Tuesday night - I thought some scandal had happened and this guy I had never seen before was some sort of replacement for someone), Robbie, Alexandrea and Alaina got the boot last night. All, in all, a pretty fair round of eliminations - none of them had a banner performance, and the fact the off-show gossip this week focused on whether Robbie does or does not wear a wig - didn't bode too well for him.
But - Alaina's reaction to being eliminated was one of the more uncomfortable things I've seen on TV this year. And, given the way the eliminations are presented, with all the fake-outs and discomforting ploys, it's the reaction that you know the producers have wanted to see since the show started.
Ryan did his little "Is it Kady? Orrrrrrr Alaina?" drama thing, and he really only revealed that Alaina was out by saying that Kady was safe. It took poor Alaina a second to process, and then. she. freaked. out. She started sobbing, burrowed into Kady's shoulder and wailed "I can't sing!!" (A reference to the fact she was now going to have to warble through her song from the day before as a farewell; not that she can't sing in the grand scheme of things. That type of self-awareness does not belong on the show.) In the time it took Paula to ramble about puppies and butterflies and unicorns and chocolate cake, however, Alaina pulled it together and sang, with backing from all the AI ladies.
And, somewhere, the producers were shaking with glee. Ugh.
Idol Chatter: The One Where Simon Gives Up
Did you notice how oddly complimentary Simon was last night? Hold me, I'm scared. While the evening was a vast improvement over the plague-ridden previous week, quite a few of the Top Ten ladies still struggled with the songs of the '70s. Who can blame them, really, what with the songs being released TWENTY years before some of them were born?
Carly kicked it off with "Crazy On You," which was kind of awesome, because it's Heart, and kind of not awesome, because we knew from the Hollywood rounds that she's the, uh, queen of Heart. Syesha warbled through "Me and Mr. Jones," which made me realize that what I really wanted out of '70s night was actually a Heart night. Brooke takes the stage with a git-tar for "You're So Vain," and, I gotta say, Brooke? It's not a happy song. Smiling through an ode to the dastardly ways of (Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger, take your pick) is not a way to show the audience that you understand the words. Ramiele was as cute as ever, although someone JI watched the show with did wonder aloud if Jason Castro's dreds are longer than she is tall.
Kristy Lee Cook (I can't just say "Kristy." She's sort of the, I don't know, John Wayne Gacy of "American Idol.") continues to confound. She obviously actually had a lung to sing with this week, but it's just awkward. Next up is Amanda Overmyer, in whom I've developed a rather irritating rooting interest. How great would it be for a rock chick to go far in this competition? So great, right? But why does she have to be SO ROCK CHICK-Y about it? Lose the Lita Ford outfits and the hair out of the community theater production of "Cats" and just focus on rocking the song. The judges offered similar comments, but you know it's a downward spiral when Paula does the "You're so pretty underneath the [vague hand gestures towards Amanda] and your face is so pretty!" thing.
Taylor Swift lookalike No. 1 Alaina was passable, as was Alexandrea. However, Taylor Swift lookalike No. 2 Kady, who did Heart's "Magic Man," suffered in comparison to Carly's belting early in the show. I hope she gets along for a few more rounds, because my head might meta-explode if she were to sing a Britney Spears song. Finally, Asia'h, who does "ALLLL BY MYYYYSELLLLLLF" and sounds exactly how you just read that in your head.
My picks for the girls that get booted tonight? Kristy Lee Cook and, alas, Amanda.
Ludacris And Friends 'Disturbs Tha Peace' At R&B Live
The show started off with a private reception at the venue's penthouse at 7PM, where henessey and hors d'oeuvres were served. JI brushed shoulders with the likes of music executive Kevin Liles, DTP members Shareefa, Bobby Valentino, Luda, Steph Jones, who engaged in an extensive conversation with JI about hair types and freckles, and a very svelt Jordin Sparks, primped out in black metallic tights, a black trench and matching patent leather, open-toe platform heels.
The show started at almost 9 P.M., with a soulful yet cutesy performance by Jones, clad in a white button-up shirt, a black vest, a yellow and black plaid tie and a hat that sat ever so slightly on top of his brown twisted hair. In the audience were Chrisette Michele, Chingy, MTV and Hot 97 executives among others.
After Jones' three song set, DTP songstress Shareefa
took the stage, starting off with her smash "I Need A Boss." "Need
somebody that's real gangsta / toy soldier, a real gangsta!" she belted
out. She then went into a rendition of R&B group Floetry's "Say
Yes," and surprised the audience with a guest appearance by remaining
Floetry member Marsha Ambrosius, who took the mic for the rest of the
song. Joined by rapper Jada Kiss, Reefa ended her set with song titled
Bobby Valentino closed the night, but JI had skipped out by then and headed to the homie Joe Budden's album release party down at Don Hill's bar. Although Budden was running late and JI ended up missing him, the Jersey rapper had a nice crowd waiting on him to make an appearance and hopefully hit the stage.
You Are, You Are A Furry Thing
Yep, I said it. It's hard not to think Blur 1995 when listening to a lot of Super Furry Animals' tunes, and that's not a bad thing. Those were happy times in Britpop, before Gorillaz were churning out cartoon hits and an Oasis brothers feud was only in its infancy.
But while those memories are just that, SFA has pressed on, marrying numerous different styles over the years and garnering a strong cult following here in the U.S. We noticed a few things while in attendance at the Welsh space-prog-poppers Bowery Ballroom show last night on Feb. 25.
Lead Furry Gruff Rhys likes to chat between songs. What's quickly noticeable, and quite strange, is that his Welsh accent is much harder to understand when he's not singing. Only when he's strumming along to the guitar, playing the piano or walking around with a crash helmet on (which he did twice), was he easy to discern.
Rhys is also a bit of a joker; he crunched into a carrot for a rhythm effect; thanked his crew who he credited as actually writing all of the SFA material (the band just auditioned to play it), and they made up two new songs on the spot. Both were a cappella, and only contained one lyric each. "Earth" and "Earth 2" lacked in sound and innovation, but they did manage to convince most of the audience to put their hands upon their heads, and give "spirit fingers." Their deadpan convincing that this would help them somehow, well, fooled us, twice. Shame on us.
Oh, and they played some tunes too. Oldies such as "Ring Around the World," "Hello Sunshine," "Do or Die" and "Fire In My Heart" made appearances. But the highlight might have been the spacey, delightfully funky "The Gift That Keeps Giving." Rhys sat hunched over the piano, his voice sounding flawless as he hit the higher notes and some Theremin-sounding effects accompanied him.
Earlier in the evening, Rhys mentioned that it was "Wales Week" here in New York, prompting the band to celebrate the night before with Matador's Times New Viking. But they swore up and down that the honoring of their homeland and their tour conclusion was purely a coincidence. Sure. We believe you. -- Michael D. Ayers
Last week, soulstress Erykah Badu previewed her new album "New Amerykah, Pt. 1, 4th World War" with a listening session and a live VH1 Soul Storytellers performance. We're big fans for Ms. Badu 'round these parts, so we went to both!
Her VH1 performance was amazing as she ran through her classics like "Didn't Cha Know" and our "New Amerykah" fave "Me," where she comically sings "Had two babies, different dudes/And for them both my love was true/This is my last interview, hey, that's me." Of course she's referring to her son with Outkast's Andre 3000 and daughter with West coast MC D.O.C. and we love her anyway...
At the listening the following night, Badu traded her
afro wig for a 1960's bob wig and big black frame glasses. Squeezing most of
Fun fact: Badu has formed a super group called Edith Funker with Roots' drummer ?uestlove, producer James Poyser, bassist Michael Elizondo, Doyle Bramhall II and the legendary Prince-affiliates, Wendy and Lisa. According to Badu, they bathed in the funk and didn't "take a bath for days." Cool, right?
Their first creation is a song called "Annie"... a song about a chick who wears no panties and flashes everyone. Ha! Should be released via an album called "Loretta Brown" later this year.