That High Pitched Whine, Redux

April 12, 2006 at 8:47 am (Pop Culture on Parade)

I don’t usually make a big deal of the fact that I watch American Idol, but this week is the show where the little goofballs screw over sing the music of Queen. Being the good, loyal rock fan that I am, I just can’t let this pass without speaking up. Queen’s an all-time favorite artist of mine and normally I’d love to hear their stuff any way I can get it, but…shaking my head…not like this, guys, not like this. I hate it when people do hideous shit to dead rockers’ songs.

I’ll go in order of appearance, with notes in little semblance of organization since the written notes I’m working from don’t have it either. Most will have a note about song choice because a few of the choices were just not good.

Bucky

Song: Fat Bottomed Girls

First impression: Excellent choice–not vocally demanding and lots of rock-stomping beat.

Opinion overall: Passable performance, but might land him in the bottom three. Good work for him on a rock song but I got a half-assed feeling from the preparation for this one. There was far more he could have done with this to make it his own turbo-country future hit, and he really didn’t put in the work.

Better song choice: Actually this was probably one of the best song choices for him. If I had to pick a different one, it’d be “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”

Ace

Song: We Will Rock You

First Impression: Huh? With your range, you pick one of the easier songs? Whyfor you not take the chance to really make an impression? Oh, that’s right, he’s an idiot.

Overall Opinion: Surprisingly good! While a better song choice would have really added to Wet Panty Points with his core fans, this version, with the slight rearrangements to showcase his voice more, did work very well for him. I wouldn’t pay to see it, but pretty tho he is, I wouldn’t pay to see Ace do anything because I’m getting bored with pretty with no backup qualities.

Better Song Choice: Bohemian Rhapsody. He’s one of the two guys who had the range to pull this one off, and leaving it for (shudder) one of the girls (see below) was a mistake, both in being good to the music Freddy Mercury left us and to your own need to get a leg up in the competition. “You’re My Best Friend” wouldn’t have sucked either.

Kelly

Song: Bohemian Rhapsody

First Impression: No. Not only no, but HELL no. The first sign of twang on this hard-rock classic will have me threading a circular knitting needle thru my temples in an attempt to make it stop.

Overall Opinion: No. FUCK no. Hear that high-pitched whine? It’s Freddy, spinning in his GRAVE over what you did to his song! Looking like a bad Joan Jett clone didn’t endear you to me either (as I love Joan Jett and you will never have her appeal so give it up). The whole song sounded like shit even taken on its own merits and trying not to compare her version to the original, and I can’t believe the guys from Queen let you do this to their material. If a phone call could have eliminated you, I’d still be dialing. Die, clone bitch, die.

Better Song Choice: “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” could have bent more to your country background and voice. The costume you wore last night, after swapping in some leather pants for the black jeans (which you should have done anyhow) would have fit better with both songs. Oh, and the eye makeup applied via The Fifth Element method? Trowel that shit off–heavy kohl eyeliner doesn’t play on blue eyes.

Chris

Song: Innuendo

First Impression: This could be interesting, since I don’t know the song he picked at all.

Overall Opinion: Put this on your first album. Really. Excellent strategy to pick a song no one knows from the body of work and he owned it, start to finish! He did more than full justice to a song Queen hasn’t ever performed live. I can see why they didn’t–it’s a VERY demanding song, hard to get right, and would have been really taxing to pull out of one’s ass night after night on tour.

Better Song Choice: Bohemian Rhapsody. Chris has the stage presence to really wow the crowd with this one, has the ability to do it justice and the heart to really love the material they way it needs to be for anyone but Freddy to sing it to a mass TV audience.

Katharine

Song: Who Wants to Live Forever

First Impression: Not a good choice to grab the crowd, with all the better songs her range could have let her sing.

Overall Opinion: I was worried about her picking this one. I was right to have worried. The arrangement peaked far too early in the song, leaving the last third of the song overblown and out of tune. I love this song–it usually gives me shivers. This one didn’t because instead of building to the end like it should have, by the end it was too late–with the middle of the arrangement so big, she had nowhere to go but down by the close.

Better Song Choice: “You’re My Best Friend,” “Killer Queen” or “Somebody to Love” especially the latter, would have been ideal choices for her range and clear sweet voice. A well done arrangement on “Somebody” would have really scored her some points as the classiest singer in the Idol lineup.

Elliot

Song: Somebody to Love

First Impression: Bye, Elliot. Phone home so someone picks you up at the airport.

Overall Opinion: I expected him to bite the dust this week, since he’s just not equipped with the charisma or voice to pull off Queen’s body of work. I don’t think I’m wrong after hearing the performance either–“Somebody to Love” is just biting off more than his voice can chew. He completely missed on interpretation, and he was severely out of tune the whole time. He hasn’t got the clarity of voice to make this one palatable.

Better Song Choice: Maybe, “We Are The Champions” or better yet, look hard for something on one of the early albums that rocks but isn’t so difficult to sing. This wasn’t a good week for Elliot no matter how you slice it though, since he just doesn’t have the chops to pull most of the known works off.

Taylor

Song: Crazy Little Thing Called Love

First Impression: Ooooh, this should be good but I won’t be able to watch due to the Joe Cocker Syndrome the boy’s got going on.

Overall Opinion: Yeah, baby! Take me–take me NOW! Too hot! If I didn’t hurt so bad last night I’d have had a major case of happy feet. As it was, chair-dancing got out of hand. Excellent song for a bluesy-style singer and Taylor made the most of it. It gave me hot-cold fever and left me in a cold-cold sweat. I fucking loved this!

Better Song Choice: He’d switched to this song after the clinic with Queen and I really think that was a good move, so good that I’m not suggesting another song.

Paris

Song: The Show Must Go On

First Impression: Huh? Who? There’s another song left? Oh. Hope she can remind me why I should care that she hadn’t performed yet.

Overall Opinion: She didn’t remind me. While she did a passable job, I was distracted by how inappropriate it is for a chunky 16 year old to dress like an S&M queen. No, I’m not one to talk but I’m not on American Idol either. Baby fat hanging over tight leather just isn’t a good look for anyone.

Better Song Choice: Actually she did a good job on the song; perhaps this spot should be “Better Wardrobe Choice” in this case. LOVED the boots tho–excellent choice but thigh-high would have been better and might have distracted from the muffin top over the pants. A top that wasn’t so form-fitting, ditch the straps that accentuated her tummy, move the splash of silver from her hip to her top and draw the eye upward, and perhaps people would remember the song. This might land her in the bottom three just due to the awful outfit distracting from her voice.

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