American Idol: Sing it Like You Mean it, Girls! Like Black Velvet.

Last night the first and the last singers were like gold-plated bookends for boring paperbacks on American Idol. FINALLY . . . we’re getting around to comments that are getting past great singing voices to actual performances that someone can give a care about.  Like what I’ve been witching about all along.

Amber Holcomb has kept somewhat of a low profile comparatively during the season, only to come out ahead of the herd on the home stretch, sporting an interesting and entertaining new attitude. Angie Miller, the prim and proper enunciator, is trying out some new wings, and seems to have gotten some wind beneath them, both last week and last night. She and Amber saved the night from being a total waste as far as performances went.

Of course the spiff on stage between Nicki Minaj the sometimes adorable maniac, Randy the stalwart mediator, and Jimmy the new Rodney Dangerfield was priceless, especially when Jimmy accused Nicki of having a crush on him. I don’t care what anyone else thought of it, I loved the non-threatening and fun theater of it. The down side was the timing, which was during Candice Glover’s time in the sun when her comments were due.

The disagreement was about Jimmy’s comments on Amber’s version of MacArthur Park, a song which Jimmy never liked sung by anybody, whether by Richard Harris or Amber Holcomb. I agreed with Jimmy that Amber’s take on the song would never win any prizes, but I disagreed with him about the original song in general. It was a song about the loss of sweetness, first love, and innocence, in a park where old men “played checkers by the trees”. The metaphor for that loss was:

“MacArthur Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down…
Someone left the cake out in the rain
and I don’t think that I can take it
’cause it took so long to bake it
and I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh, no!
There will be another song for me
For I will sing it
There will be another dream for me
Someone will bring it . . .[but]

Though the metaphor is strange at first hearing, no one can refute the fact that a cake (which is usually a happy festive confection) left out in the rain, (an unhappy circumstance denoting the precipitation of insurmountable problems) becomes a mushy mess that cannot be put back together no matter how hard you wish it. And no one can know what emotions, background, etc (ingredients) went into that happy moment in life and love. That longing melody in the original song makes you weep for the lost sweetness, love, and innocence of youth. Amber certainly didn’t get it with that upbeat, let-me-kill-this-song performance. What Jimmy had against the song itself, other than the strange wording, I couldn’t begin to guess. But the song itself, I wouldn’t hesitate to say, is an American icon, somewhat akin to the strange wording of American Pie, though not as good. (Oh my. Didn’t realize I had two songs listing bakery items. Joanne Fluke would be so happy).

Another thing that puzzled me was the focus of last night’s songs — One Hit Wonders. Okay. Am I wrong here . . . or aren’t one-hit wonders exactly what the words say they are? A song by the BeeGees isn’t a one hit. The BeeGees slammed the billboards with their songs during the seventies. The only song I knew of to be a real one-hit wonder I heard last night was Amber’s version of MacArthur Park by Richard Harris (you know, the actor, A Man Called Horse and Camelot, whose last performance was in Harry Potter). If he ever had another hit song, I never knew about it.

Candice’s song “Find Your Love” was by Drake, who has had four consecutive hits, according to my internet research. That’s doesn’t make Drake a one-hit wonder. A real one-hit wonder was like “Black Velvet” sung by Alannah Myles. Who? Exactly. I’ve never heard of her again, and yet that bluesy, Mississippi heat wave invoking, Southern song about Elvis will “bring you to your knees”, and make the sweat pop out on your brow just to listen to it. I can’t say I care much for the video, but the song and singing are unsurpassable. Have a listen. THIS is a real one-hit wonder.

So, as I say, what was the criteria on American Idol for a One Hit Wonder? Whatever their meaning, I think Kree’s going home tonight and I think we’ll wind up with Amber and Angie waiting side by side in hope and anguish on that final stage. But who knows. We all know by now the fickleness of the American public.

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5 thoughts on “American Idol: Sing it Like You Mean it, Girls! Like Black Velvet.

  1. I think you must have acquired the ability to read minds while you were recuperating because you have said EXACTLY what I was thinking. Amber’s “The Power of Love” and Angie’s “Cry Me a River” were the performances of the night. I was also thinking last night that Kree will probably be headed home tonight. VERY rarely do the judges (and Jimmy) criticize a performer this much yet the contestant remains in the competition. With the exception of the Lazaro travesty, I feel the public listens very closely to the judges’ comments.

    The melee on stage with Jimmy was funny, but talking about Amber’s performance at the expense of Candice’s time on stage, wasn’t fair. However, Candice made poor song choices last night. As Keith keeps trying to drive home, song choice is extremely important. Candice has bowled me over with some of her choices- – “Don’t Make Me Over” being a particular favorite — but she did nothing for me. I predict an Angie vs. Amber final if they are as good next week and they were this week.

    I also agree that none of these One Hit Wonders were actually one-hit wonders with the exception of MacArthur Park.

    An obsservation: Have you noticed the way Mariah walks when the judges are introduced? It’s so odd the way she swings one foot way over in tront of the other in an exaggerated model walk. And I’ve noticed she just sits there stone faced whenever Nicki is talking. It’s as if she can barely stand to be in the room with Nicki….which I’m sure is the case. Mariah looks uncomfortable in general and the way she rambles while flapping her hands around, annoys me no end,
    .

    • I agree with all of the above, and have determined after posting about the finale to do a single post reviewing the judges. Mariah’s everything drives me nuts. The way she puts her hands in front of her mouth sometimes when she talks like someone with bad teeth do. Flapping her hands. Talking on and on and saying nothing. In fact, I could go on and on, but will spare you. My daughter in law, who used to idolize her, can’t stand her anymore. The preening also drives me nuts, and her dress code has “plunged” again.

  2. Yep, “preening” is exactly the word of what Mariah does. As for the dress, I was holding my breath last night for fear she’d fall out of it. That aricle about Idol that I sent implies that the entire judging panel will be replaced next year. I’m CERTAIN the two women will be replaced. Keith probably won’t want to be away from his family for another season. Randy needs to work on developing his vocabulary. I tired of “Dawg,” “Dude” and “He/she’s in it to win it.”

    • I agree about Randy and his limited vocabulary. I’m sure he has more but do you think he may be as burnt out as the audience on the Idol front? I hate it because Idol was always an exciting time of anticipation around here and it’s not anymore. Unless there’s a super shake-up I think there will be an overall shut down. Love Keith, but I don’t think he’s looking at long term, and Nicki just looks bored 90 percent of the time.

      • Yes, I think Randy may be suffering from burn out, just as viewers are. Maybe it’s time for the show to fold. The Voice is soooo much better, is newer, and perhaps it’s time for it to be the leader.

        Keith and Nicole have a home in TN, but they’re both Aussies and have a home there, too. He has said on a couple of occasions that he misses her and his kids a lot while doing Idol.

        I think everything bores Nicki except the sound of her own voice….a voice that sets my teeth on edge and makes my ears hurt.

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