Scott, To Be Certain


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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  • At 1:39 PM, September 17, 2007, Blogger that's mister nora to you, sonny said…

    Bang on, bro, 'cept maybe I'd swap Misfired and Marty. I really fucking hate scarf man.

    xoxo nora

  • At 1:50 PM, September 17, 2007, Blogger Leilani said…

    I'm flabbergasted by the stylist's freeform interpretation of 'rock' wear and completely underwhelmed by the shiteful performances. This was easily the worst night of Idol ever.

    Also do you think Ben was a little hurt by the judges' comments? For a kid whose voice hasn't broken he does ok though.

    But more importantly - what's the gossip regarding Marty?

  • At 1:52 PM, September 17, 2007, Anonymous Loopy said…

    Scatt, I think last night was the worst night I have every watched. Booanna was pathetic and if she is not booted tonight she should just leave. And like I said in my text last night, Carl slaughtered Clocks.

    I had to agree with Dicko that Jacob looked like a knob. I could only hear him when he started singing and he sounded fine but when I started watchin him I was embarrassed for him.

  • At 2:12 PM, September 17, 2007, Anonymous FranklinBluth said…

    worst night of idol ever = best scott2bc post EVA! that was hilarious, I can't BELIEVE you mentioned Charltons, and what a fantastic finish. I'm still laughing, bravo Scott

  • At 2:36 PM, September 17, 2007, Anonymous HangTheDJ said…

    Scott on spot .. oh err I mean - spot on Sc .... oh you know what I mean.

    They sucked hard and unfortunately not in an enjoyable way, which would have been nice seeing I was feeling toey.

  • At 2:37 PM, September 17, 2007, Blogger Woodsman said…

    I was grossly offended by all and sundry, particularly if "sundry" means everyone excluding Lana who actually gave it a red hot go tonight and until she kinda raped the chorus was doing really well.

    Dicko is once again spot on this year but i think he can lay off the "hey everyone Ben is a big poof" gags - the kid is just 17 for fucks.

    Furthermore, whoever is dressing Dicko this year really needs to get themselves a promotion cos he is looking quite the DILF (clothes on DILF).

  • At 2:50 PM, September 17, 2007, Blogger Rowena said…

    I was hanging out for your comments on last night's debacle and you delivered. Your ranking was entirely in agreement with mine, though, as you said, neither Ben nor Mark were terribly impressive.

    As a rock singer/songwriter in an originals band, I was actually looking forward to rock night (yes, I was naive). I cried tears of torment at the end of the show... seeing Mark tackle one of the most pedestrian AC/DC tracks when what was needed was a song with a crescendo was the final straw. I can't even talk about any of the others. Though Booanna was a case in point as to why contestants should never question or complain to judges on stage. Horrific.

  • At 3:41 PM, September 17, 2007, Blogger Scott said…

    Nora - I felt like Scarfman should have been wearing chaps last night. I'm sure it wouldn't have been the first time.

    Leilani - I've been searching for the mysterious gossip with no luck. Anyone?

    Loopy - Jacob's performance reminded me of his X Factor epileptic outburst a couple of years ago, featuring him writhing around on the floor kicking over a mic stand - do you remember that?

    Franklin - you make me blush.

    Hangthedj - hopefully you've now had your needs addressed.

    Woodsman - couldn't agree more - Krostie was half-way decent, relatively speaking, and Ben is copping way too many fag jokes, for sure. I was, however, more concerned about his enthusiasm re Bindi.

    Rowena - thanks and I shared your tears. I'm also developing a sense that Da Costa's designer stubble really resembles the kind of adhesive a drag king might wear.

  • At 3:48 PM, September 17, 2007, Blogger Zoe said…

    I think Carl meant to say "soft cock rock".

    And shame, Booanna, shame. Who would have thought her singing would be so terrible I would even forget she was singing Superfreakingtramp on Rock Nite?

    Scott, you continue to show your genius.

  • At 4:30 PM, September 17, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    It really was a disastrous night, wasn't it? I thought Serena Williams was the best though. And, unlike Carl, she mixed her forte (r&b) with rock so that it was still "rock" but a version of it that she felt comfortable with. Mark was alright, as were Ben (seriously, the fag jokes are getting old) and even Krostie.

    Gotta say I can't stand to watch Jacob anymore. I think I'm going to have to leave the room when he comes on. He's such a, and I feel like a fifth grader saying this, try-hard. Last night with his lame faux-rock movies (the mid air scissor kick again?) and even the falling over at the end? Terrible. He's an attention seeker who just wants applause all the time and, just like Courtney from several years back, the moment someone gives him criticism he turns into a baby. And, seriously, that coat with the shirt and tie was about as rock as my left foot. Mark's coat felt rock. Jacob's did not.

    Booanna... god. She was woeful. Terrible. Disastrous. Pathetic. Unbelievably bad. I love that the judges just told her to go home. To think, we could've had Cheray instead of her!

  • At 5:20 PM, September 17, 2007, Blogger comicstriphero said…

    It's a pretty freaking big call to elevate Daniel Belle's Rock DJ above anything else, ever.

    And do you really have to have an uncensored picture of Mutto so easily accessible? I really must get my Internet filter checked - such filth!

    I really only saw Carl Risely's performance last night (I would emplore you to create a suitably to-the-point nickname for him, but he is not worth the effort), so I must now race off home to watch the clips on the 'puter.

    Stuff work.

  • At 5:42 PM, September 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I read on Vogue forums the rumour is Marty and Lana are doing the deed. Hilarious recap as always!

  • At 6:54 PM, September 17, 2007, Blogger comicstriphero said…

    Ok, I've watched the vids.

    Suffice to say Holly's send-off performance from last week's verdict show shat all over everything from last night.

  • At 6:58 PM, September 17, 2007, Blogger lisa said…

    marty and lana... that is so wrong, but not as wrong as grater face and les hair.

    i sat in sheer bewilderment at how appalling the show was.

    Scott i so clearly remember Jacob's horrendous x factorness, i'm glad i watched last night just so i could see someone other than me call him a knob.

    If the others hadn't been so shit i think Mark would not have got praised, it really wasn't good, it's just the bar had been lowered so far.

    maybe no-one except family members will vote this week.

    can they all just leave, except ben, les hair, sistah girlfriend and Nat.

  • At 7:25 PM, September 17, 2007, Blogger TallulahBelle said…

    What a crap performance night. I think if Brianna doesn't go she may pack her bags anyway. Although next week is Disco and I think she wouldn't massacre that. But yeah. Even the good perfs weren't great.

  • At 7:58 PM, September 17, 2007, Blogger PopGoesCanberra said…

    Scott, what is your opinion of the "concept" of the "confidence team"?

    Anthony Callea was wearing a cross tonight too!

  • At 10:08 PM, September 17, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    Thank god Jacob was in the bottom three, maybe that will knock some sense into him. I wrote a passionate plea against Butler on my blog tonight. He's a retched revolting little pound of baby fat isn't he?

  • At 10:30 PM, September 17, 2007, Blogger eMZed said…

    IAWS and also, it appears, with the Australian public. I would say the whole shebang was surprisingly bad, except, really, who was surprised? In fact the problem with the whole shebang was she di'n't bang, know what I'm saying?

    Mind you, the bloodbath of judges' comments was sublime.

    Really disliked Lala and the Butler: improved as their performances might have been, they just stood out as "Performances": Look! I'm playing at being cool! I kept expecting jazz hands.

    Tarisai was definitely channeling someone - I half expected singing in tongues and completely believed her when she said she had no idea how she went.

    Glad to see Brianna go: I still have no idea why she was there, and will not miss her post-performance (ir)rationalisations.

    But in a way, song choice was the real winner tonight - and by winner I mean loser. The whole rock genre, and that's all they could come up with? Sheesh.

  • At 12:35 AM, September 18, 2007, Blogger Adem IAR said…

    Saw the highlights tonight, am very glad I missed Sunday nights show, Rock Night has always pissed me off.

    I am quite annoyed that the one time I forget to record the show, Marcia goes and does her job. I would have paid an absolute mint to see that shit fo' real.


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