Wow, Rock Week sure did not start out rockin’, but it sure ended with a blast. Let’s save commentaries for the negligible stuff (No Doubt was cute but it was all rather been-there-done-that, Daughtry–who I’m a fan of–was disappointing, and Paula… sorry, the less said the better) and get to the performances.
Adam started the show off, and to say that he was in his element would be a great understatement. He was in full Velvet-Goldmine-glitter-rock glory, eyeliner and swagger on full display. He also seemed to have benefited from Slash’s advice to bring down some of the high riffs (i.e. SHRIEKING!). Exactly. Whatever the reason, it worked.
Alison was next, singing “Cry Baby,” and in a bizarre twist, she decided to take the poppy road instead of her usual rocky road. Vocally, she was fine, but the performance lacked the grit and emotion that the lyrics called for, and her cutesy smile and googly eyes brought to mind Micky Mouseketeers more than Janis Joplin. It was all a bit too safe and too perky.
The first of the two duets followed (definitely an interesting idea), with Danny and Kris singing together. And it was the beginning of what was to be a pretty tough night for Kris. Rock may not be Danny’s thing, but it’s REALLY not Kris’ thing, and Danny used pure ballast to pretty much push Kris around during the song. All in all, it was all rather awkward, with little to no interaction between the two and Kris being forced to stretch his voice way beyond its sweet but limited range.
Kris had to recover quickly to perform his solo, “Come Together,” and again, he was a fish swimming upstream from the beginning. He’s not a belter nor a rocker, though he sure gave it a valiant effort, and the song really didn’t inspire any real emotion. He took the judges’ comments well, though, just with his puppy eyes looking sadder than usual (aaahhh).
Then it was Danny, and my goodness, words cannot describe. You all know what I’m talking about. The scream heard around the world. His performance was actually pretty much a mess even before that final note. He was so measured and careful leading up to it (kinda like the way he talks, actually), without any organic moment whatsoever, and when the daddy of all screams actually hit, I was in absolute awe at the sheer grandiosity of the moment. It was beyond a train wreck; it was more like Hiroshima. Truly epic in its horrifying power.
Fortunately, the final performance did a lot to take the so-bad-that-it’s-good taste out of our mouths. Adam and Alison worked with each other, pushed each other, and ultimately helped each other to higher heights than either of them was able to reach on his and her own and deliver something truly rockin’. It was the mirror opposite of the first duet, and their fondness for each other was really great to not only see but to actually hear in their performance. Just awesome.
In the end, however, it wasn’t able to save Alison, as she was eliminated the following night. To Danny’s credit, he took the reaction to his scream in good humor, but I still couldn’t help thinking that Alison should’ve been saved instead of him. Oh, well. C’est la vie.
At least, Alison went out with a bang. With the pressure off and the emotion of her elimination likely driving her, she delivered a Joplin-worthy performance of the same song that she barely scratched the surface of the previous night. Tears in her eyes, emotion palatable in every line, she walked into the front of the stage and into greatness. It was to me the greatest female performance that I’d ever seen on Idol. Wow, absolutely, wow. Even if she had delivered like that the first time, she may not have survived elimination, but she’s gotta feel great that she made such a grand exit (and also that she rightfully talked back to Simon after he oh-so-patronizingly told her, “Just beg”). The girl’s got one heck of a future. No doubt about that.
So what now? I’m beginning to think Danny may be invincible (it’s mind-boggling that people dialed for him AFTER hearing that scream), which would leave Adam and Kris. It probably means the end of the road for Kris, unless something extraordinary happens. It’d be sad, but Kris, like Allison, have a great future ahead in the music world, regardless of what happens. And I think humble Kris (don’t listen to Simon, Kris, stay the way you are) would be quite happy with that.
America’s Next Top Model:
Same old, same old. I’m of course referring to Celia (namely her face, according to Tyra & co.) and why she ended up being eliminated. I felt bad for Celia. If they thought she looked too “old” to be a model, why did they even pick her in the first place? It was the same excuse for several previous contestants (crazy Jade and the cranky blond single mom come to mind), and really, what could they really do about it, go out of the house for a quickie facelift? Anyhow, bye bye, Celia. Shame on you for looking your age.
What can I say, the episode ROCKED!!! “Cafe Disco,” indeed. There were killer moments galore, just like in the show’s heyday. The opening (“I just won an art contest”) gave new cast member Erin her first-ever funny moment, and the show just went on from there. There were memorable moments throughout (Dwight and Phyllis’ awkward massage session, Kelly and Andy’s dance-off, Michael and Angela’s “cookie” battle over Kevin, etc.), but my favorite has to be Michael’s “office-drone” routine. “I was just learning to… lo…ve…” Classic. I also laughed out loud at Michael’s self-justification for Cafe Disco: “Now I know how Phillip Morris felt. You develop a new, cool way for people to relax, and they just slam you for it!” Well said, Michael.