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My "Idol" Thoughts -- and "The Voice"

By admin Published: April 28, 2011

The overnight e-mail included a release touting the nine-song iTunes package of songs from Wednesday's performances of Carole King's songs. I keep staring at the list and, with the possible exception of James Durbin's "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," see nothing I would want to hear again. In fact, I am at the point where I am just fed up with "Idol." Not only is the music mostly mediocre, at best, it is part of a bad show -- redundant judges, poor presentation (technical issues for a singer two weeks in a row) and contestants whose rare moments of genuine feeling are squashed under tightly edited and forced cuteness. All that, and disastrously bad duets. I will elaborate after the jump.

What an incredible load of crap last night's show was. And no one is stopping it. Is anyone telling Tyler not to overuse the word "beautiful"? Has anyone asked Jennifer to recant her performances-be-damned support of the women singers? With all of the Carole King material available, did they really need four songs from "Tapestry"?

As I said before, the duets were disastrously bad. Jacob and James trying to blend on a Herman's Hermits song, for crying out loud. Lauren and Scotty unable to harmonize on "Up on the Roof" -- and Lauren showing up Scotty's vocal limitations. Casey, Haley, "I Feel the Earth Move." No, I don't. But the show is so madly in love with Casey and Haley right now, it doesn't matter. (And that love may not matter, considering how impressive James continues to be.)

As for the individual performances, Casey was back to playing the growly Muppet on "Hi De Ho"; the song demonstrated that, when it comes to blues or blues rock, Casey just isn't that good -- he was as overshadowed by the song (and the memory of David Clayton-Thomas) much the way Scott was overshadowed by Lauren. Compare James' taking on "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," finding the pathos in the song, demonstrating again his melodic side, putting in a rock current -- and maintaining a dramatic tension. (Will he overpush the shriek?) Best performance of the night by far, and proof of what posers Casey and Haley can be. Lauren was second best of the night with "Where You Lead," although it made me admire her work more than love it.

Scotty had some OK moments on "You've Got a Friend," but that's about it; once again, if you're riding a musical warhorse, you better ride very, very well. I've made clear my disaste for Haley, and nothing changed tonight; her mannerisms still make me crazy. And Jacob, likable as he is, has like Casey been exposed as a very limited singer; it seems as if he had two or three good songs that he had done over and over when he came into the show -- great audition material -- but is defeated by a newer challenge, especially something as complicated and understated as "Oh No Not My Baby."

So, not a good night. And the packaging of the show has gotten terrible -- nine songs in 90 minutes? Too much filler.

Speaking of filler, I heard some more interesting performances on the first installment of "The Voice" -- NBC's "Idol" -- than most of what flew by on "Idol" this week. (And I'm not counting "Idol" ex Frenchie Davis, whom the stars liked a lot better than I did.) But the show is gimmicks on top of gimmicks -- the "blind" auditions with the rotating chairs, the stars' begging to work with singers, the singers picking and choosing: It's "Idol" meets "Shark Tank." If there were more music -- and maybe there will be once we get through the auditions many weeks from now -- maybe it will get more interesting. But I don't know how much time I want to spend with the show before then, when the major reward is hearing Cee Lo say "pretty girl" and counting the audio drops of Adam Levine.

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