Scott, To Be Certain


Monday, August 27, 2007

AI5: Semi-Finals 1 and 2

Hello to all, and, in defiance of that word's already inherently exhaustive meaning, I extend, as a special treat, a greeting to sundry as well.

I must also extend my apologies. That tiresome inconvenience - employment - is responsible for my lacklustre blogging performance so far vis-à-vis the Idol semi-finals. But as fate would have it, I am going to wrap up both episodes now to provide my two cents' worth.

"I'll chip in another 48"

The Boys

This was potentially the most spectacularly boring semi-final I have ever witnessed. Each of the judges deserves a pay rise for not being knocked unconscious by the utter mediocrity on display. It certainly renders the magic of Chanel's "Glory Box" performance in the corresponding semi-final 3 years ago all the more worthy of praise, does it not?

Let's have a brief look at each of the performances, ranked in descending order of quality.

6. Carl Risible

Serving up a piping hot dish of sonic excrement, Carl knocked himself out of contention with a painfully sung and boringly performed two minutes of drivel. Michael Buble's "Home" is actually that performer's first and best stab at writing his own music, and it's usually a gorgeous, wistful lullaby when done correctly. Not here. Though I quite liked Kyle's far-too-polite commentary, likening Carl to undercooked toast. Marcia's quite right: as a singer, Carl is clearly an excellent trumpet player.

5. Junior Joseph GaTo'o

A dead ringer for last year's flaccid Joseph Gatehau, Junior To'o shares that performer's unique ability to cure insomnia in mere seconds. In one of history's poorest ever song choices, Junior chose Pink's uber-political "Dear Mr President", then proceeded to explain that the song isn't really all that political. Oooookaay then. Pink certainly wouldn't have been pleased about his leather jacket, but at least he wore a lovely Big Brother tribute t-shirt, and Mark Holden did amusingly congratulate him for not "over-licking" the song. Blimey.

4. Daniel Mifsud, a.k.a. Semi-Final Dud

To the delight of all Australians, Daniel's anagram proved prescient. Draped in a new scarf fashioned from his very own neck hair, he sang Diesel's "Tip Of My Tongue", a haunting ode to clitoral massage, with all the flair of an ingrown toenail. Incredibly, Daniel then admitted that by way of preparation he had only previously listened to the song four times in his life. Nice work.

3. Husny Thalib

Disappointingly bland output vocally and song-wise from Idol's resident genre-buster, enlivened only by a spot of pelvic thrusting and a few well-timed pouts, which one supposes might be close to Husny's entire life strategy. I think Husny has the potential to both shock and impress us, but this wasn't an example. Where is the Britney, the Kate Bush? At least Marcia came to the party: her constructive feedback was to recommend that Husny give "bit by bit by bit then explode", a sequence with which I sense he is already familiar.

2. Jacob Butler

In such a drab line-up, Jacob capably executed a musical Stephen Bradbury to claim the second-best performance of the night and sweep into the finals. He took a risk in singing a song most people have heard approximately 4,000 times more than they ever intended in their lifetime, but it was earnestly performed, and don't you just want to grab those cheeks and give them a squeeze? James Mathison does, and perhaps even a bit more, memorably grabbing the mic stand and telling Jacob, "Don't mind me, I'm just moving the pole behind you." NEWSFLASH: Marcia's jade ear accessories are actually EARPHONES! Did you catch one dangling around her neck after this performance? Amazing.

1. Matt Corby

Matt's place in the finals was reserved before he even took to the stage, but it really shouldn't have been that easy. For starters, he sang Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" without injecting any discernible uniqueness or passion into the performance, delivering a finished product that I'm amazed to say was even inferior to Tammy Faye Kate De Rouge's, if that's at all possible. Then there was the choice of accessory, a kind of cross between a picnic rug and Yasser Arafat's headgear: WTF. Clearly hanging out far too much with Daniel Mifsud, Matt is developing disturbing fixations with misguided neckwear and excessive hair, and will need to "bring his A-game" "moving forward".

The verdict? It was pleasantly and unusually swift; featured Mifsud mercifully sans scarf; and, critically, was the right outcome. Plus, Jacob's sheer delight at being chosen was genuinely nice to see. It will be interesting to see if the arrival of warmer weather will encourage Jacob to stop storing those acorns in his cheeks and to get stuck in to some serious non-X Factor-style performances to give Matt a run for his money.

The Girls

6. Lana Krost, a.k.a. Oral Stank

And stink it did: this was an unbearably twee car crash of a performance from the youngster, complete with butchered song structure, fumbled lyrics, and, especially, over-mannered coyness. Anyone who has seen Margaret Cho's hysterical impersonation of Björk would have noticed a strangely familiar flavour here.

5. Jesse "Homewrecker" Curran

Jesse has copped a bit of press this week for destroying the life of James Blundell's wife, through a cunning seduction of James that prompted him to ditch the marital unit in favour of life in Mildura. In today's MX, neo-De Rouge pleaded with the Australian public to judge her on her singing only. I don't think anyone will hesitate to accept that invitation after this dreadful performance. The judges' references to Julie Andrews were spot-on: this was insufferably Sunday schoolteacher-esque. But it did end on a hilarious note, with Marcia mistaking something Jesse said with a reference to the Blundellgate scenario, proceeding to offer her opinion on it to boot. Thoroughly uncomfortable but no less sensational viewing.

4. Natalie Gauci, a.k.a. La Cutie

La Cutie was all at sea without her enormous keyboard, giving Xtina a red-hot go but falling well short. I spent most of this performance distracted by Natalie's crotch, which most disturbingly resembled a horse feeding from a trough. It seemed that with each step a further portion of her pants was swallowed by her ravenous nether regions, and Kyle quite rightly called her on it. Ba-bow.

3. Sally Van Der Zwart

I was none too positive in forecasting Sally's chances in my Top 24 analysis, but I was very pleasantly surprised by this performance. The pre-performance package recapping her auditions cast her as a serial ballad-lover, foreshadowing a potential vanilla overdose for us all - but the result was in fact, bravely, a non-ballad, delivered with gusto and perfect pitch. She was brought a bit undone by a complete lack of stagecraft, sashaying around aimlessly with faux angst that lacked credibility. Still, she's in with a slim chance.

2. Tarisai Williams, a.k.a. Virtue Sis'

I stubbornly refuse to like Tarisai. Unlike her principal Idol predecessors Emily and Paulini, Tarisai is manifestly incapable of modulating the power and tone of her voice, invariably producing a screamfest which ends up fusing into one noisy, monotonous caterwauling session. Still, she somehow pulled off this performance. It was a nice mix of mid- and up-tempo, and she looked rather adorable on the whole, wearing some type of cat overtop an enlarged album cover for "The Diary of Alicia Keys". Most notably, it elicited a couple of inspired corkers from Dicko, who first labelled Virtue Sis' "stark raving mad" before likening her performance to "an audition for Sybil". Gold.

1. Cheray Doughty

Hooray again for Cheray. I was a bit nervous at the prospect of Cheray attempting the singularly primal groan which colours all of Joss Stone's music, especially since the show's editors had previously cast her in earnest singer-songwriter mode. Cheray busted out of that pigeonhole with an unexpectedly sexy performance, undone only by a questionable final note. Impressive stage movement, a confidently sassy strut, and a surprising flair for soul: the best performance so far of all the semi-finalists.

For mine, Cheray and Tarisai are shoo-ins - shoos-in? - as the only plausible potential finalists from this set. Your thoughts?

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  • At 9:40 AM, August 28, 2007, Anonymous Ben said…

    Nice work Scott - though surely Dicko's "affordable" comment deserved a mention? He used it to describe Tarisai's clothes. I love that line!

    And there was certainly something a bit Tanya Blencowe about Lana wasn't there?

  • At 10:16 AM, August 28, 2007, Anonymous Carla said…

    I loved Dicko's "affordable" comment. I was giggling at that well into the commercial break.

    I reckon it'll be Tarisai and Natalie into the finals. There's always a female contestant who bores me to tears every single week, rendering me incapable of even making snarky comments, and I predict it will be Natalie.

  • At 10:21 AM, August 28, 2007, Blogger Scott said…

    Ben - yes, poor omission on my part. That is one of Dicko's finer moments this year, along with his "audition for Sybil".

    Carla - I hope you're wrong about Natalie. I will be very g(r)auci if she gets through ahead of my girl Cheray.

  • At 1:30 PM, August 28, 2007, Blogger Woodsman said…

    I really liked Cheray but can she actually sing? Her one attempt at hitting a note was real bad. Grauchi is heaps better but should be banned from the comp for attempting an Xtina song.

    I quite liked Lana! She seemed nice.

    Homewrecker was CLEARLY worst on ground.

  • At 5:36 PM, August 28, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    Agreed that Charey's last note was wobbly, but the rest was so good. She and Tarasai should be going through (I hope they do).

    I was hoping Husni would go through with the men, but he'll get into the wildcard round alongside, *vomits*, Daniel Mifsud. I agree with you about how glad you were that the judges weren't blind to the obvious inadaquacies of these men, especially Mifsud who is gross and I want him GONE.

    Way to go though Scott. You are Idol central.

  • At 5:57 PM, August 28, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    Two other things.

    It's shoo-ins.

    And secondly, I've been watching some old clips (mostly of Chanel and Ricki-Lee), inspired by your top 20 countdown, and I gotta say - the judges comments back then were perfect. Holdon wasn't a bumbling idiot, Marcia wasn't a broken record at that point, Dicko was short and sweet and too the point and nobody talked for longer than their alloted 20 seconds.

    And these people are talking for over a minute in the top 24 performances! What are they going to be like during the top 12? Holdon kepts telling Dicko to stop talking so much and then he would talk for just as long!

  • At 6:57 PM, August 28, 2007, Blogger TallulahBelle said…

    Cheray and Tarasai for shizzle tonight.
    "Where is the Britney, the Kate Bush?" - brilliant, if they Wildcard Husny and he pulls out a little Wuthering Heights, I will mortgage my HOUSE to get him through.

  • At 9:27 PM, August 28, 2007, Blogger Adem IAR said…

    I cannot believe Hello Kitty got in. It is actually like Laura Gissara all over again.

  • At 10:14 PM, August 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Did he mean the movie Sybil? Or the show Cybil? Either could work.

    The boys were uniformly woeful. Matt Corby made me feel murderous impulses. Jacob got through purely cause people like the song. The rest, admittedly, were worse, but you were too harsh on Mr pseudo Buble.

    The best 4 girls were better than any of the guys in my opinion. But not cause any of them were at all special.

    Remember the semis in 04? Casey, Hayley, Courtney, Chanel... all amazing.

    Diminishing returns indeed.


  • At 10:22 PM, August 28, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    Gross. The "Big Girls Don't Cry" chick got in. Fuck. Oh well, Wildcard round for Cheray definitely.

    And whod've thunk it that Ben would be the best of the second semi-final? Well, he and Mark (it's Mark right? The first dude who sang Led Zeppelin even though he sung it IN HIS AUDITON). He's at least the first hottie to get through!

  • At 10:23 PM, August 28, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    Did you notice how confused Tarasai was when Holdon called her "Tiramasu". Confused or offended.

  • At 12:10 AM, August 29, 2007, Blogger lisa said…

    "i'll chip in another 48" aah i love it, so simple yet so good

  • At 9:56 AM, August 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hello kitty - WTF!?! Good call with the Laura Gissara comparison --- so true.

    Ben and Marty are likely to be put in the top 12 tonight. However, given the way things are going-'vote for a good person and vote for a shit person'-wouldn't be surprised if Lyall 'I have a pole up my arse' Adonis gets in instead of Marty. Particularly as Dicko is oh so fond... yuck!

    Marty's lookalike:

  • At 2:18 PM, August 29, 2007, Blogger Scott said…

    Kamikaze - economical judging went out the door with Dicko's exodus, I think. He hasn't brought it back with him. Glad to see we have the same taste! For both our sakes', hopefully Semifinal Dud will stay that way.

    Tallulah - "Wuthering Heights": OMG. That would be truly grand, would it not? Is there some way we could petition for this in the Wild Card round? Or perhaps "Hounds of Love"?

    Weasel - agreed re semi-finals in 2004. All amazing. However, I think Ben did wonderfully last night.

    Adem - I think it's more like Lauren Buckley, no? Hello Krostie wasn't quite as bad as The Giss was in the latter's semi, but to be honest, I think The Giss is actually a better singer. Krostie's age and general vocal power seem very Lauren-esque. I'm frightened for us all.

    Anonymous - I think Ben's a cinch for one of the spots. The other is difficult to say - I hope it's Da Costa, but on the basis of goldfish memory spans, I'd say it's Marty's for the taking.


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