Scott, To Be Certain


Sunday, September 30, 2007

Idol Top 9 - I'm Just So Glad They Got To Sing

As Scott is currently tracking down Pumpkin's family tree in China, protesting with Buddhist monks in Burma or perhaps being kept as Tanya Herman's Bitch in Deer Park - I'm afraid this week's idol blogging has been left to someone who is not nearly as good with his colon usage; Woodsman.

Mr & Mrs S2BC enjoying the sun in Tienanmen Square

Tonight on Idol was acoustic night. Not at all to be mistaken as "let's just slow every song down and sit next to a cello" night. Bobby Flynn has so much to answer for.

Speaking of people who have a lot to answer for, what was the Marcia God wearing tonight? She looked like a Logie and as for Mark - could he have looked anymore like he was on the way to fiddle some kiddies? But the rich vein of style ran right through the audience this evening with the chick who sat square behind Dicko in the audience wearing little more than 2 bandaids, a cork and a SCARF - seriously, Daniel Mifsud needs to be shot.

Our "specialist" this week who was charged with turning our pedestrian Idols into acoustic geniuses was none other than Ronn Ian Moss.

I miss Scott

Mr Moss has a new album out you see and it may or may not be acoustic. Given that Marcia manages to pimp a platinum album off the back of idol each year, he thought he might as well get in on the action...oh and he was "pretty keen to have a blow" with Matt Corby.

(Good to see Ian Moss following in the footsteps of Elton John and Rod Stewart who were "specialists" in recent series of US Idol - Go Oz.)

Whilst S2BC is renowned for his precise and insightful rankings of contestants, I do not have the nous to separate performances which could be best described as "meh".

Instead, given that Geelong is very much in the news this week and their supporters need to be brought back down to earth and realise that they still live in Geelong, I will provide you with a Pyramid scheme.

A long bow

Alas we shall continue:


Darren Gauci, "Man in the Mirror" (by Michael Jackson)

Already holding the performance of the season with Feelin Good, the Gauc defied bouts of Equine Influenza to take us to new heights with a sterling Maria Pracitan-style rendition of one of my favourite songs such rating having nothing to do with a near biblical moment on the dancefloor at Mardi Gras some years ago to the dance remix courtesy of a wicked biscuit. Looking hot and with earrings that rivalled Marcia's, we should all do exactly what the sign in the audience said and "Vote Nat Guci".

Ben McKenzie, "Hide and Seek" (by Imogen Heap)

Despite shocking us all by telling us he feels uncomfortable singing high notes, Ben managed to deliver an enjoyable version of a song i'd never heard of by a band i've never heard of. His voice is not the strongest and quite breathless at times, but he has a massive likeability factor. Unfortunately for Ben, it appears that his Proactive supply has run out and after last week's genius call of "if you want to get behind Ben, call..." by James Matheson, there was no wonder that Ben was a little nervous and sore this week.

Matt Corby, "The Blower's Daughter" (by Damien Rice)

(An interesting choice of song given he was being mentored by the singer of Tucker's Daughter who had just declared to the camera that he was quite keen to blow Matt, don't you think?)

There is little doubt that Matt will be in the top 2 this year and so it really doesn't matter that he has THE WORST HAIR I HAVE EVER SEEN and that he was dressed like a bear at the Laird. I don't understand why the boy sings with his eyes more closed than Bernadette the busker when he has such stunning eyes and knows that a solitary bat of his perfectly mascaraed eyelashes he has every 14yo girl in the country wetter than Andie McDowell in 4 Weddings and a Funeral. For the record, the performance was quite good, if unmemorable. Mark was so impressed he declared Matt as in a handful of the most brilliant people we've had on this show. Thanks Mark.

Daniel Mifsud, "I Was Made For Loving You" (by Kiss)

Daniel's penchant for scarves took a turn for the better this week donning a Magpies' scarf all over town, but even that can't alleviate my bout of irritable bowel syndrome whenever he takes the stage. Described by Dicko as the Romantic Balladeer (note to self, this may have been the 1st night ever that Dicko made no sense to me) and Mark gushed "I have never thought I'd hear a kiss song done like that" before awarding the most ludicrous touchdown in the history of ludicrous touchdowns. Apparently it is sheer genius to slow a song down and look like Alf. Nothing rhymes with Mifsud read the sign of the night - except for perhaps Cocktard.

Mark De Costa, "Yellow" (by Coldplay)

So THIS was the something "really different" that we were promised last and western Coldplay - complete with annoying pronunciation ("every thang you do") to accompany his annoying facial hair. Decked out with a white acoustic guitar which was clearly painted on, Marcia was right on the money when she hilariously declared that she "enjoyed the humour in it". Ronn Moss had his concerns though commenting that he thought Mark had trouble connecting to the lyrics, a problem that S2BC might not be struggling with in China this week - where it is indeed, all Yellow.

Tarasai Williams, Kissing You (by Deseree)

Fresh from winning a gigantic butt plug at the Korean Open this week, the Best Voice in the Competition (and about the 972nd best singer in an American Idol competition) was clearly fatigued as she delivered a rather boring and stripped back version of an already dull song. If she was going to sing something from the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack why not #1 Crush where she could have performed a sacrificial ritual of Ben Mackenzie or somethin somethin. Dicko pleaded for her to start choosing songs which she had experienced hinting that she had not kissed anyone other than her life-size jesus doll. Marcia giving one of her first "girlfriend" compliments of the season told her that she looked like a million and 1 Zimbabwean dollars in her delightful bigbird outfit.

Jacob Butler, "Somewhere Only We Know" (by Keen)

Love the song and the boy can kinda sing but oh lordy this was boring. Jacob proved once again that he only has only the one outfit as he churned out the same vest, tie and jeans look for the 85th consecutive time that somehow lead Dicko to comment that he "looked much better tonight" WTF??? Dicko has left the building. The sign in the audience read "Jacob is Idol" which was grammatically incorrect as clearly "Jacob is Idle" would have been more appropriate given that he will be back collecting nuts for the winter in the next few weeks.

Marty Simpson, "Open Your Eyes" (by Snow Patrol)

That this kid is still in the competition says it all really. It is kinda sad when someone keeps using an excuse like "i just need my guitar" and then when they are allowed to perform with the guitar, they still suck. Even Marcia is wearing thin of Mr Caravan Park '07, pleading with him to "watch your time" and to sit on a metronome or something. I can't imagine anyone wanting to spend 25c to vote for this lettuce.

Carl Riseley, some spoken word piece (by Harry Connick Jnr)

Well colour me surprised when young Peter Costello lookalike chose to sing Harry Connick Jnr and wear the exact same suit as he has every other week. Well "sing" is a strong word as he took the reins from Lisa Mitchell in the "spoken word" performance category. Whilst it wasn't anywhere near as offensive as his Waltzing Matilda molestation, I still wanted someone to scalp him when he said "Mr John Foreman" when JF did a bit of a piano solo. The hilariously brilliant ComicStripHero puts it best:

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. I PROMISE Scott will be back next week to a radically diminished readership where he will resume usual blogging.

Of course the closing word as always goes to the Marcia God with her razor sharp insight "I'm just so glad they got to sing".


Monday, September 24, 2007

Idol Top 10: Whiny Disco Balls

Ni hao, viewers! I am currently writing from Beijing, China, where I am fresh from a small hotel room misunderstanding about the scope of a massage. It didn't help that the masseuse in question had styled herself "Lana".

The Krostie Cat Dolls

It was a briefly uncomfortable moment, but it provides us with a neat segue into a review of last night's Idol episode. And it was far less uncomfortable than that other Lana's effort, as we will see.

But first, a disclaimer: The distinct disadvantage of blogging an Australian show of substandard amateur performers from a colossal international metropolis (apart from the fact Blogger is banned here – WTF?) is that, along with experiencing an irresistible sense of “Why?”, you miss out on Marcia’s comments. I am providing the following commentary on the basis of the performances and pre-performance packages only, because that is all that gets loaded on to the website. So I miss, for example, in the words of wonderful S2BC reader Weasel, Marcia responding to Mark Da Costa’s’s performance while “dripping like the spit roast she wants to be”. And do I hear that I missed my girl Chanel advertising calorie-infested lollies in the ad break? Looks like she’s still eating her feelings then.

ANYWAY. Let’s get to it, ignoring, if you would so kindly, any formatting issues. Crikey.

10. Marty Simpson, “You Sexy Thing” (by Hot Chocolate)

Marty may have meant to serve us up some hot chocolate, but what we got was a rancid, tepid, carob-flavoured horrorfest. Zooming in to second worst performance of the year (behind a never-to-be-rivalled Booanna), this was a sonic assault, performed, no less, in a VEST. Marty’s reading of this song was similar to what you might get if Neil Diamond tried to cover Madonna’s Erotica. In this context it’s difficult to know whether the final line sung by Marty, replacing “miracles” with “mirrorballs”, was tongue-in-cheek or just another example of utter ineptitude. It’s time to go.

9. Hello Krostie, “Sing It Back” (by Moloko)

Hello Krostie took a break from captaining her Grade 6 rounders team to rock up to last night’s show. She needn’t have bothered. Matching her boyfriend Marty’s limp, geriatric effort, this was like Nikki Webster performing Rihanna. In a wheelchair. A double departure, please?

8. Jacob Butler, “Canned Heat” (by Jamiroquai)

The cheeks get fatter, the eyes crazier and the desperation more obvious with every week. The bottom 3 has never been more clear.

7. Carl Risible, “September” (by Earth, Wind & Fire)

Things were sailing along tolerably for Carl until a couple of things happened: (a) he scatted; and (b) he tried falsetto. Millions of dogs around the country drove stray bones through their hearts at that moment to end the pain. Nonetheless, I am told he received warm reviews from the judging panel, mostly on the basis of having actually selected a song within the set genre. (“Must I remind you it’s pronounced “john-drah”The Marcia God) It’s embarrassing to see the judges having to treat him with such kid gloves in order to justify their horrendous Wild Card decision. And tonight’s performance must have been particularly offensive to back-up singer and Family First member Gary Pinto, dressed last night in an oh-so-disco Adidas tracksuit jacket, who covered this song with his world-conquering band CDB years ago. O ye fickle music industry!

6. Parasite Williams Vushe, “Hot Stuff” (by Donna Summer)

I was pumped for a stand-out performance from this little pocket powerhouse after she dished out a delicious neck swivel and accompanying “Mmm-hmm!” in indignation at Dicko’s criticism from last week during her pre-performance package. But, like Lavina Williams before her, another diva extraordinaire who incomprehensibly failed to deliver in Disco week (my review of last year’s corresponding episode here), Parasite was mediocre at best, adopting hair extensions Cosima-style but failing to replicate the latter’s excellent performance of the same song in Season 1’s finals opener. Sister-girlfriend, wassup witchu? It’s taaaaaaahm to ge’cho GROOVE AWWWN! Please/thank you kindly etc.

5. Daniel Mifsud, “Miss You” (by The Rolling Stones)

YAWN. This wasn’t terrible, and it was accurate, and at least he swapped the scarf for some beads, which you sense have multiple uses for him, but destined to be this year’s Millsy/Daniel Spillane/Marty Worrell/Ricky Muscat greasy mid-place finisher.

4. Natalie G(r)auci, “I Will Survive” (by Gloria Gaynor)

Natalie’s preferred performance structure is becoming tiresome (slow moody intro + loud middle + power note to finish, regardless of the song), but she still soars above most of the guys and is the most appealing musician and the most unpretentious competitor, for which credit is due. From what I understand, she even earned praise from Kyle for her outfit last night, but there was no ignoring those boobs, which were positioned out to the side like a couple of half-filled mailbags, AND the over-excited stage coverage was a bit haphazard and Leith-like, AND she seems to have performed the same song she did at her first audition with her huge-as-fuck keyboard. But I still love her and will continue to wait patiently for that touchdown I know is lurking in there somewhere.

3. Ben McKenzie, “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” (by Michael Jackson)

Learning from last week’s misstep, the producers have obviously made the contestants justify their choices this week, and so we’ve been treated to a précis of each song’s history and relevance in each contestant’s “own words”. So Ben informed us that this Jackson song “shifted 750 million units world-wide”, which sounds exactly like Ben and completely unscripted, don’t you think? Well done team. As for the performance, another good effort. Yet to match his semi-final magic but strong, consistent and, importantly, he managed to evade the pitfall of tackling a song memorably performed by a past Idol contestant (Ricki-Lee sang this in the wrong key in 2004). Ben is a guaranteed Top 3 finisher, I’ll say it now.

2. Mark Da Costa, “Nutbush City Limits” (by Ike & Tina Turner)

Mark was sponsored last night by the House of Callea, appearing in the same spray-on drag king stubble, vest and crucifix ensemble that Anthony wore last Monday: Their styles are different but with each week they resemble each other more. This was the perfect song choice, still bereft of anything remotely similar to vocal range, but capably and enjoyably performed. Mark loves disco because as it turns out he\'s a big fan of \"great beats\". This statement takes on a whole new dimension in the context of his Callea homage.

What\'s wrong with that particular pastime

1. Jennifer Connolly, “Got To Get You Into My Life” (by The Beatles and also Earth, Wind & Fire)

That this was the best performance of the night is self-evident, but let it be said: the touchdown Jennifer received was a heinous crime against common sense and is the type of exaggerated reaction that usually follows when general expectations are lowered so significantly that not dropping the microphone seems like a world-class example of poise. On the list of Idol touchdowns, this performance would rank somewhere near the very bottom with those of the Murphy brothers, Dean Geyer and Dan England. Good, enjoyable and solid, but completely forgettable, making every single one of Kate De Rouge\'s performances seem unjustly overlooked for the same honour. Plus, he claims to have been humbled by the Idol experience, and yet continues to walk around like the already-anointed winner he probably is. But he did wear a Madonna t-shirt in his pre-performance interview, so props ‘n’ shit.

On the subject of touchdowns, have we all been following the ludicrous goings-on over at the website\'s high-larious \"Touchdown Tournament\"? The competition pits some (but, egregiously, not all) of History\'s touchdowns against each other in a Wimbledon-style face-off, with the surviving performances continuing through until one is crowned the greatest. The arbiter of each face-off is, of course, the public.

This is a TERRIBLE IDEA. Not only does it overlook those amazing performances for which no touchdown was issued (Chanel\'s Glory Box being the best example), but allowing the public to vote leads to pathetic and embarrasing results like the following:

Damien\'s Nessun Dorma (65%) beating Anthony\'s The Prayer (35%)
Damien\'s Hallelujah (94%) leading Cosima\'s When The War Is Over (6%)

Neither of those overwrought Damien Leith performances is anywhere near as good as his renditions of Crying or Wicked Game, both infinitely superior, both earning touchdowns but both conspicuously absent from the Touchdown Tournament. Who organises this shit?

As ever, it’s up to us, dear readers. With S2BC\'s Top 20 Greatest Australian Idol Performances, we are gradually righting those hideous wrongs. Top 2 to follow VERY shortly.

Now to some housekeeping. Next week I will be taking my Chinese odyssey to Shanghai, where, much like Madonna in that underrated 1986 acting showcase Shanghai Surprise, I will be busy on an exotic quest for stolen drugs. Or something similar. I will, as always, be following the Idol performances with more than a passing interest, but for the sake of engaging in an actual holiday at some stage, I will be handing over the S2BC blogging reins for next week\'s episodes to my dear friend Woodsman of Billable Units. Woodsman shares most of S2BC\'s passions and pet peeves but will no doubt launch into some of his own inimitable and immensely enjoyable tirades, so please do drop in. I will be back on deck the week after.

Zai jian!

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

S2BC's Top 20 Greatest Australian Idol Performances: No. 3

3. Cosima De Vito, "When The War Is Over" (Season 1, Top 8)

Love her or hate her, the bitch had pipes. This was the first ever touchdown, and the fuss remains as easy to comprehend now as then: this was, quite simply, a beautifully constructed, stunningly interpreted vocal masterclass worthy of every plaudit it received.

Where to start? This performance had every ingredient for a memorable Idol moment: inspired re-imagining of a classic; soft, restrained introduction leading to a sea of spectacularly executed power notes; and the surprise attack of a perfect rendition from a technically proficient but vaguely unlikeable competitor (see also No. 4). Listening to the astonishing volume and precision of Cosima's voice through this, it's almost possible to pinpoint the exact moment her nodules began to form.

Cosima underwent one of the most intriguing of all Idol metamorphoses, from monobrow-laden prematurely aging balladeer to surprisingly feminine diva powerhouse. From the pap of her vocally perfect but staggeringly boring semi-final (Celine's "My Heart Will Go On"), through to the promise of her up-tempo Wild Card performance (Delta's "Predictable") and finally to her unexpected sassy rendition of "Hot Stuff", Cosima developed an impressive repertoire. Her latter performances were ultimately taxing (all overwrought balladry and hair extensions), but she remains one of the top 3 female voices to emerge over the 5 years the show has aired. And who knew she would also be a fashion pioneer?

It's difficult to know exactly where things went wrong for Cosima, because watching this makes you believe she could have been a world-beating superstar in the Whitney or Celine vein, and things had started off so well with her extremely successful acoustic version of this song reaching #1 on the ARIA charts in 2004. No doubt it was the astronomically expensive, ill-conceived Diane Warren-penned album of ballads that did the damage, and those cheekbones are rather intimidating: you could cut bread with those babies. And her more recent efforts aren't exactly setting the charts on fire: her latest single, "Keep It Natural", thankfully not a song about eyebrow maintenance, faltered at #112. OOPS. (Shame: the remix is brilliant.)

Poor bitch; it's a mystery, really. Particularly since being ugly never stopped Celine - she's about to release her 16th album:

I KNOW. But that's a whole other post.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Carp Interred: Nothing Fishy About Booanna's Burial

From this picture we are able to note that:

1. Booanna mercifully got the boot last night.
2. A camera is sensibly pointed away from Booanna.
3. Mutto is apparently now a cameraman on Australian Idol.

That last point is unconfirmed, but a move behind the camera can only be a good thing for that particular individual, as well as for Booanna, for whom there are clearly no endorsements in the offing. ("Our products aren't THAT good" - ProActiv)

It was an entirely unsurprising departure for the series' worst performer: that she earnt this mantle in the presence of Hello Krostie and Carl Risible is testament to her shitness. Hence, her elimination last night had even less suspense than the moments preceding last year's Best Actress Oscar win by Dame Helen Mirren. I suppose it's worth noting that the other 2 members of the Bottom 3 were boys, which is a promising sign for the remaining females, who are being systematically decimated Big Brother-style.

How quickly things changed for this year's first two evictees. From joyous on-camera lesbian romp to yesterday's news quicker than you can say "I'm deaf in one ear".

To add insult to impairment, we of course had to hear Booanna butcher that song AGAIN. Could she not have signed it instead?

There were really only two other things from last night worth reporting. The first is some genuine concern about Hello Krostie. Bitch looked like the most wretchedly over-tired woman on primetime television this side of Annie Jones.

Seriously, what was up with that? She honestly looked like a tired manga version of herself, with wrinkles seemingly drawn on to give that desirable I've-been-clawing-my-eyes-out-due-to-either-conjunctivitis-or-an-acid-trip look. I suppose it makes sense, given those rumours inadvertently revealed on Sunday night by Kyle: apparently Krostie's been getting jiggy with Marty's simpson. Now that's a fine pair. Mr Nerves and Miss I Can Barely Sing Audibly must go wild in the sack. No wonder it takes them all night.

In lieu of anything else being remotely interesting, last night was all about Anthony Callea. Appearing as though in direct response to S2BC's Top 20 Greatest Idol Perfs Countdown, Anthony spent 3 minutes demonstrating almost to the letter EXACTLY why he didn't deserve to win and EXACTLY why The Prayer was such a rare feat of unmannered grace.

Wearing spray-on stubble, A VEST and A CRUCIFIX, Anthony absolutely raped James Morrison's "Undiscovered", one of 2007's very best singles and a mini-masterpiece of smoky-voiced, self-affirming blue-eyed soul. It was gut-wrenching to witness: in Anthony's hands, the ordinarily gorgeous song was transformed into a pageant performance. Replete with more pearl-clutching moments than a drag show, he even did that seated "my arms are wings!" fake flying movement, barely stopping short of marching out the spirit fingers. The best bit was clearly mid-song when he awkwardly screamed at his back-up singer, "Tell 'em Suz!". Suz is what you would get if you crossed Kate De Rouge, Bob Marley and the albino monk from the Da Vinci Code. She tried to tell us, but we weren't very interested.

We seriously need to take the lead from the infinitely superior Canadian Idol, which has just wrapped its fifth season. Now, I've spoken about Canadian Idol several times before. But there really are some lessons to be learned from their production standards, and the impact of those standards on ratings and results.

1. For starters, they have an uncanny ability to select attractive, sustainable, marketably unobese and occasionally even sexy winners. Here are their last three (carefully omitting the first couple, who were mingers):

2. Stars such as Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, Nelly Furtado, Avril Lavigne and Lionel Richie have all both guest-judged and acted as vocal coach on the show, and countless other credible acts have performed on results shows.

3. They also select interesting theme nights, such as "#1's From The Year You Were Born", Unplugged" and "The Songs of David Bowie". This would be way too boring for Australian producers. Instead they like to innovate with corkers like "How About In The First Week Of The Finals You Just Choose Your Own Song, 'cos That Would Be Really Inventive And Not At All Similar To What You've Been Doing Every Fucking Round Since Your First Audition."

4. Crucially, the Canucks allow departing contestants to sing their best performance as a farewell, as opposed to the invariably woeful one that caused their ouster. This suits both contestants and viewers: they get to leave with a reminder that they were once quite good, and viewers don't have to withstand an encore of drivel. The continuing Australian model means, for example, that Brianna got to foist her tunelessness on us twice, that Ricki Lee ended her Idol experience with the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out" without knowing all the words, and Reigan Derry, who had several touchdowns in her but never got the chance to deliver them, had to relive another full 3 minutes of ill-advised Perth cock rock after she got the boot. (It's a genuine marvel and frankly evidence of pure legend that in 2004, just moments after being voted off, Chanel Cole was able to turn her horrendous Top 5 performance of "Hit 'Em Up Style" into a delicious, brilliant "do you realise what you've done, voting public!" performance master class.)

Let's hope the producers lift their game and that the contestants of Australian Idol Version 5.0 hit their straps because we're otherwise in for an insufferable couple of months.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

AI5: Comedy Rock Night Feat. Marcia's Feedback

OH DEAR. Here is a picture of Lana Krost summarising last night's episode:

The alleged most competitive Top 11 we've ever had last night put on the musical equivalent of a clown nose and a unicycle for our general amusement, mostly butchering their chosen rock songs with the kind of generous, banshee-like abandon typical of a karaoke hen's night at Charlton's.

Last night's episode was literally the most horrendous 90 minutes the Idol franchise has ever produced. Consequently, the prospect of sifting through 11 almost universally awful performances and attempting to rank them into some type of order seems too terrible for words; indeed, it fills me with the kind of trepidation that George Clooney's character must have experienced shortly before having each of his nails forcibly removed with pliers about halfway through Syriana.

"Good night and good luck to each of you"

By George, they'll need it. It's possible that the Top 11's collective foecal output might serve as a treatise on why Rock Night should never, ever be a theme again. It was only introduced for the first time last year, and while there were a couple of gems from that particular night (namely Jessica and Lavina), it was mostly painful that time as well, even resulting in possibly the series' finest natural talent, Reigan Derry, being deservedly but regrettably ousted. Hardly a roaring success.

The night was so deplorably bad that I would willingly sit through a 4 hour rock tribute triple bill of the following performers than sit through that tripe again.

Thankfully, there was light shining through the dross last night, but it didn't come from any of the contestants. It came from a saviour. Two, in fact.

1. The Marcia God. In the kind of stunning reversal of character usually reserved for cinema's finest plot twists, Marcia offered ACTUAL, NON-CHANEL-PROMPTED FEEDBACK tonight. Amazingly, she embraced her role as judge with the most genuinely constructive common sense responses that she's ever dished out in five series, in addition to some standard non-sensical crack-assisted output, the best of which tonight was clearly (to Carl):

"I have nothing to say. That was self-explanatory."

Amen to that.

2. The Actual God. If you thought Mazda and Head & Shoulders had already taken product placement to new heights on this year's series of Australian Idol, they have nothing on the Lord, who sponsored last night's episode by (a) furnishing every contestant with a crucifix and (b) sensually rippling through every molecule of Tarisai Williams Vushe after her performance in a way that made the immaculate conception seem entirely plausible.

Fig. 1: Precious Woman

But what can we say for the actual performances? This is how I saw them:

11. Booanna Carpenter, "The Logical Song" (by Supertramp)
10. Carl Risible, "Clocks" (by Coldplay)
9. Marty Simpson, "Jenny Don't Be Hasty" (by Paolo Nutini)
8. Jennifer Connolly, "The Immigrant Song" (by Led Zeppelin)
7. Daniel Mifsud, "Fire" (by Jimi Hendrix)
6. Natalie Gauci, "Sweet Child O' Mine" (by Guns 'N' Roses)
5. Hello Krostie, "C'mon, C'mon" (by Little Birdy)
4. Jacob Butler, "What's The Story, Morning Glory?" (by Oasis)
3. Parasite Williams Vushe, "Hard To Handle" (by Otis Redding/The Black Crowes)
2. Ben McKenzie, "Bodies" (by Little Birdy)
1. Mark Da Costa, "High Voltage" (by AC/DC)

This is certainly not to say that Ben and Mark were necessarily very good at all. To this end, please note that while Mark heads up the list, it was still the kind of naff, boring output that has no home in the Idol finals. In fact, as far as Mark's concerned, for an alleged rock gig veteran, this was a woefully underwhelming effort that reminded me at times of the relatively limp performance from Carrie Underwood during country week, her forte, in American Idol 4. Of course, it just so happens Carrie is now the world's leading country artist but I'm boldly predicting that Mark Da Costa is not this country's next rock icon.

"That opinionated outburst strikes me as both surprising and foolhardy"

I'm not even done: I'm also wagering that Booanna's performance is possibly the worst effort that a finalist has ever served up in five years of this show, and that includes Lauren Buckley's tear-infested departure performance of Lady Marmalade, Laura Gissara's infamous semi-final key change during En Vogue's Don't Let Go Love and Daniel Belle's awe-inspiring rendition of Rock DJ. It really was worse than all of those efforts combined. Poor bitch claims that she's deaf in one ear and therefore unable to counter-measure her pitch while on stage, but the reality is that both Helen Keller and Marlee Matlin could have done a better job underwater wearing a gimp mask. If she's still around after tomorrow night I will be genuinely surprised.

However, massive props (e.g. a hat stand, perhaps an umbrella) to Hello Krostie, now looking a lot like Michelle Branch, for her first Top 5 finish on S2BC. It is literally amazing that (a) she really was not altogether awful this week and (b) she sang an actual rock song, the first of two Little Birdy tracks, both of them excellent. There hasn't been this kind of support for a great Aussie band since Casey and Hayley both covered george in the Top 7 round of Season 2, the former memorably and the latter offensively.

Biggest disappointment was clearly my girl G(r)auci. Natalie is probably wishing she could have just popped in a tape of her excellent performance from last week for the purposes of this week's theme. Copying Jessica Mauboy's hair from last year's corresponding episode was simply not enough for Natalie to also channel the quality of that performance.

Jessica's "Walk Away" was one of the standout performances of the series (only just missing out on an appearance in S2BC's Top 20 All-Time Greatest Idol Performances), but Natalie's rendition of this classic was such a disappointment. I wanted her to unleash on the power notes, but she excised most of the song's best parts in favour of some twee emotional symmetry. Over to Marcia:

"I don't know what I'm sitting here listening to and watching."

This was intended to indicate disagreement with the judging panel and to compliment Natalie's performance, but it kind of came out all wrong. Marcia followed up that doozy by dropping the bombshell, a propos of nothing apparently, that Natalie isn't a tall, skinny white boy.

This is not a picture of Natalie

I went to a wedding on the weekend where the bride declared that she didn't ever believe the year 2004 could be bettered, because it was the "year of accessories". She went on to meet her husband in 2005, so I believe the implication is that it was indeed bettered, but I think it's premature to make a call on that. What is definitely clear, however, is that 2007 is shaping up as a genuine contender for 2004's mantle, at least as far as neck-gear is concerned. Jennifer Connolly tonight donned a top that actually appeared to have a BUILT-IN SCARF, while Daniel Mifsud made his first public admission about deliberately incorporating scarves into his "look". This is now beyond tiresome: SHERIDAN TYLER WOULD YOU PLEASE PUT DOWN THAT CRACK PIPE AND DO YOUR FUCKING JOB. Meanwhile, Jacob Butler is determinedly continuing with ties, even combining it tonight with an impractical winter coat. Now we all know that Jacob loooooooooves Britain, but this particular look was less 'Manchester indie' and a lot more 'Canary Wharf investment bank'.

Some further quotables:

1. "It ('Clocks') is one of the more biggest sort of soft rock songs that's ever been." - Carl
2. "Repeat after me: '[pause] Um... If you me try... Er... If you and me ain't tryin', I can't see the point.' Yeah." - Marcia (to HK)
3. "Dude, I'm up for it!" (Ben, about a disturbing hypothetical "competition" with Bindi Irwin)

All in all, Dicko summarised it best. Tiresomely nicknamed "Bindi" by Mark Holden on the basis of his khaki number, but instead, I think you'll find, doing a Jeff Probst tribute, Dicko chimed in with some nice parting commentary: "Some of them will be licking their wounds tonight."

Indeed. He omitted the word "axe", but I think we all know what he's referring to.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

S2BC's Top 20 All-Time Australian Idol Performances: No. 4

4. Anthony Callea, "The Prayer" (Season 2, Top 7)

The appearance of this song in the countdown might be coming a little early for some die-hard Anthony supporters, but let's be clear (or callea, if you will): despite its much-lauded initial reception and the record-smashing success of the subsequent single, this performance is not the best in the show's history. It's precisely 3 places behind that honour, as we will see.

That being said, however, it is still a phenomenal and memorable piece of television, and thoroughly deserving of a Top 5 finish here.

Whether you adore this tiny, stumpy-fingered, over-polished little outer suburban gay or prefer to will all evidence of his existence from your lives, there are some irrefutably amazing qualities on display in this performance: a mind-blowing vocal, with everything from strong, beautiful tenor tones through to a rare (for him) falsetto; ingenious song selection, showing careful insight into his own strengths and a skilful understanding of his target market; a brilliant arrangement, marrying what was previously a bilingual duet into a seamless unit; the sheer emotion Anthony manages to wring from the song, building it unforgettably to two killer pay-off notes in particular, without resorting to the wet, soapy, mannered histrionics which marred every one of his performances before and after; and the way he keeps most of his off-putting performance idiosyncracies at bay, investing instead in the song's sentiment and channelling the operatic elements which made the Bocelli & Dion original such a success.

Anthony didn't win, and for good, just reason. But boy, this performance is still a cracker, and I'd be lying if I said it still doesn't give me goosebumps.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Idol Matters Of Great Import

1. Following the overwhelming support from S2BC readers for Casey Donovan's unforgettable performance of "Here's Where I Stand" in our Top 20 All-Time Performance countdown, I'm pleased to bring to your attention to a fact I'd overlooked: she is already in the throes of releasing new material.

The following performance is of a song entitled "Help Me", from an upcoming EP of original, self-penned work. It was performed on Channel 7's "The Morning Show" two weeks ago. According to rumour, this particular song is not slotted to be the EP's lead single, but it's nonetheless an exciting sign of things to come. Watch especially for the post-performance interview, in which Casey demonstrates that in her 3 years away from the spotlight she has actually LEARNED TO CONVERSE. Amazing - and how good it is to finally see her singing again.

2. Alarming news reported this morning about a baffling potential romantic tryst between Idol's own Jennifer Connolly and Betty Boo.

It seems that photos have been snapped of Brianna Carpenter and Matt Corby canoodling in a spa at the Idol mansion, despite both of them allegedly having partners. The headline reports "hands getting busy", and suggests the inappropriateness of their actions might harm the competitors' chances.

OH PLEASE. The only one who this harms is Matt, whose reputation in having voluntarily invited self-appointed quirkster Booanna - probably draped in a hideous purple and red bikini - onto his lap for a little sumtin' sumtin' will shock and dismay his young female fans, as well as anyone with an understanding of dermatology. And since the photos apparently only reveal hands around a waist, methinks this is all just a storm in a B cup.

"What are you saying"

I'm saying that the only crime you've both committed, apart from the whole statutory rape thing (which is actually 'in' at the moment) is against hair. Other than that, I hope you enjoyed punching above your weight for a brief time. Or stroking below it, as the case may be.

And anyway, he is a Corby after all. He's hard-wired to stuff things into a bag and cause a scandal.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

AI5: Hollywood Ending

After the refreshing haste and of-the-essence approach of the semifinal verdicts, the slow- fingernail-removal-style pain and pace of the Monday night shows henceforth is, as ever, going to require some effort.

It's amazing that they manage to fit ALL of the following things into an hour of television without seeming rushed, isn't it?

- Dramatic sad face opening
- Recap
- Group performance
- Recap of judges' comments
- Voting results
- Loser's departure performance

Seriously, I'm amazed it didn't run overtime. BRAVO CHANNEL 10.

Among the thrilling goings-on this week was a limo ride with Kamahl, during which it appears champagne was served to UNDERAGE CONTESTANTS. And as if that weren't enough: wherever there's a champagne bottle, you just know that Jennifer Keyte can't be far off either.

"But I work for Channel 7"

Like that's ever stopped you.

Later, we saw some tiresome brand positioning, including a Gold Card to facilitate McDonald's purchases for its cash-strapped customers, which would have to be one of the most objectionable pieces of marketing I've heard in a long time.

OK, I'm already bored. What the fuck else happened tonight? A snapshot:

1. Hello Krostie cried because she loves Zac Efron. He's apparently from High School Musical, some zeitgeist adolescent hit machine that I know strictly nothing about and which accordingly makes me feel geriatric. However, I do know that the girls associated with High School Musical and who also love Zac Efron tend to get up to naughty stuff, and now I've officially made myself sick.

2. James Mathison referred to Lana as 'Krostie'. This is a promising shift in nomenclature, and a surefire sign that we are merely weeks away from fully integrating the 'Hello Krostie' moniker across the entire internet. PLEASE SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR THIS ENDEAVOUR.

3. Kermit Foreman wrote a song about life being a song. Hopefully it's not this one or we should all just retrospectively wish ourselves into the Jonestown suicide compound. Still, nice idea, and well done John. He even sang a bit, sounding less cartoon amphibian than you might expect.

4. Holly Weinert wore a top that made it look like her nipples were blinking.

5. Booanna continues to combine red and purple. Is that even legal? Her mum obviously subscribes to this hatred-inciting propaganda:

7. The worst group performance I've ever heard. Holly and Matt were the only ones who carried it off.

8. Tarisai was coiffed in the style of Phylicia Rashad from the Cosby Show.

And that's about it.

The results straddled three ad breaks, and involved the following suspenseful shenanigans.

1. Tarisai was first through, she and Marcia both immediately communing with God.

2. Lana first in the bottom 3, creating a short-lived sense of hope.

3. Marty and Mark both safe: looks like this year is all about the boys, then, in the style of Big Brother. We can only hope there's a corresponding finale to salvage it. Something like this, perhaps?

4. Inexplicably, Carl also safe: St John's Ambulance staff seated behind Marcia very relieved.

5. An all-girl Bottom 3 (Hello Krostie, Booanna, Holly) for one of the only times in Australian Idol history, as far as I can remember. Not altogether surprising, but nonetheless worrying. It was all looking OK until...

6. Booanna safe first, Krostie safe second (she really IS Neo-Lauren, isn't she?), leaving Holly to suck the Idol fat one.

BOOOOOOO Australia. We now have about 3 or 4 decent competitors, and only 4 girls left in total, including Hello Krostie Gissara-Buckley.

But then, bitch brought it on herself. Was Reigan Derry's departure really in vain?

There's really only one way to combat the devastation of shit moments like these: focus on the positives. To that effect, S2BC's Top 20 All-Time Greatest Australian Idol Performances to continue very shortly.

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