Scott, To Be Certain


Monday, September 10, 2007

Australian Idol Top 12 Feat. Marcia's Hormones

The time has finally come to commence our Idol Top 12 "journey", and like the familiar comfort of a warm winter soup made by Grandma, the show's customary sub-standard production values are predictably back on full display. To wit:

- the wardrobe department, who can still only afford to dress Carl Risible in the same suit;
- the contestants, who can't even come out from backstage on cue;
- the hosts, who continue to ineptly ad lib and who failed to announce Tarisai, instead referring to her as Jacob; and
- the judges, but principally Marcia, who seemed wired on crack tonight and at her most Abdul-esque when she stated, "It's so surreal for us to be here," as though, after 4 previous seasons and a week of semifinals, arriving at a Top 12 scenario was an implausible proposition. She adds to the spaced out moment by gushing about how wonderful the contestants are, her eyes watering as she nervously wipes her nose, having evidently just powdered it.

As for the performances, the alleged most competitive Top 12 in the show's history delivered an uneven bunch of songs, but there were at least a couple of standouts. Let's have a look, beginning, unfortunately, with the dreck. In every particular order:

12. Marty Simpson, "So Lonely" (by The Police)

Not even Marcia was terribly convinced about this being a remotely satisfactory performance, enquiring uncertainly, "That was OK, wasn't it?" to deliver one of the most generous appraisals of the series. This was far from OK: a limp, boring rendition of a song by his alleged idols. At least he had a mic stand to wrap his wayward hand around. The judges were similarly nonplussed, Dicko labelling him "so laid back you're horizontal", to which Marcia piped up in protest, seeing nothing wrong with such a quality. "Don't let your nerves blow this for you," she advised breathily, in such a predatory fashion you almost heard her add, "Let me do that..." as she reclined, licking her lips.

11. Mark Da Costa, "Vertigo" (by U2)

With two above average Idol moments already under his belt, this visual and sonic audience rape of a performance was a surprise. It began creepily, with a pre-performance package showing Mark in THREE DIFFERENT SCARVES and ending with him popping up from behind two young girls and giving them $20. In a word: WRONG. And it was a sign of something hideous to come: this performance was like watching a dwarf on a pogo stick, featuring some of the most ridiculous dance moves this side of Damien Leith's "Celebration". We all know that U2 are Irish, but the whole Riverdance tribute seems a little unnecessary. Uncomfortable viewing, not least because of the split in his pants.

10. Carl Risible, "Waltzing Matilda"

It's impossible to clearly articulate the degree to which this performance astounded me. This was like a 3 minute tutorial on why good-looking people have the upper hand in this life, because it certainly isn't vocal ability or song selection that are this man's strong point. 'Flabberghasted' is the only word I can use to describe my response, moving perhaps toward 'incredulous' when I heard the judges' responses: they all loved it, except for Kyle. Who would have thought this man would reveal himself in The Year of Dicko's Return to have the most sense on that panel?

Awful song choice and woeful execution (complete with incongruous scatting) - this wasn't a clever interpretation (see Natalie Gauci for that below); this was merely a lame, embarrassing and blatant grab for the grandmother vote, which Carl justified on the simple basis that he is Australian. I suppose we should congratulate him: when faced with the prospect of a strictly limited Buble/Connick Jr repertoire over a disastrous potential 12 weeks for the viewing public, at least he's thinking outside the box. Meanwhile, Marcia continues to think only within hers, fizzing at the slit over Carl's flavour with a frenzied, bitch-in-heat whoop-whooping at the end of his performance that she hasn't replicated since Guy's "Climb Every Mountain". Girlfriend could slide down a bar stool at this point.

9. Hello Krostie, "Shiver" (by Natalie Imbruglia)

It must be said that there's nothing particularly offensive about Hello Krostie. She's an adorable little child with a sweet nature and stunning features which, once she hits puberty, will eventually evolve into quite a sexy ensemble. Until then, though, she's just a beige piece of scenery, with nil power in her voice: she needs a decent backhander right across that innocent little face to start eliciting something which could be classed as stronger than a mere vocal whisper. YAWN.

8. Daniel Mifsud, "Cry Me A River" (by Justin Timberlake)

Not content to have brought scarves back, Daniel is persistently branching out into waistcoats, with the help of his brother-boyfriend Mark. But it seems our general scarf reprieve only extends to performance nights, with his pre-performance package revealing his dogged espousal of an entire range of scarves is still going strong out in the everyday world. SOMEONE PLEASE PROVIDE SOME FEEDBACK TO THIS SILLY MAN: Principally, that scarves are designed to preserve body warmth, and are largely purposeless when haphazaradly placed across the shoulder for misguided fashion purposes, or where the wearer already benefits from yeti-like hirsuteness. Marcia, of course, chimed in with a foreseeably hormonal but refreshingly direct response: "I actually found it incredibly exciting". It was an interesting choice, and kudos for moving away from the early 90s Mix FM back catalogue. I'd like to say that he had me at cello, but the intrusive string arrangement was ill-conceived, and the whole thing kind of left me wanting a shower.

7. Booanna Carpenter, "God Only Knows" (by The Beach Boys)

It's so amusing to me that Booanna, who initially cast herself as a savvy singer-songwriter with earthy story-telling talents and whose voice reaches Norah Jones territory when on song, has so determinedly changed her strategy to that of poorly executed, Chanel-lite coquettish drivel. It's only because her fellow competitors fared so poorly that she ranks as high as 7. I'd be willing to embrace the fact she's trying to be different if it didn't come across in such a calculated fashion. Thankfully, with the Chanel comparison comes the thrilling potential for Marcia to start hatin' on Booanna's ass, and there were seeds of that planted tonight. You know that when Marcia starts applauding your quirkiness, you're only a couple of weeks away from unleashing the Marcia demon. Bring it on.

6. Holly Weinert, "Standing In The Way Of Control" (by Gossip)

This performance will clearly go down in history for having elicited the best impromptu judges' comment this year, from Kyle, who described Holly's look as "Patti Newton on crack". Absolute brilliance and worthy of a brief rekindling of Kyle tolerance, especially following his sense in dismissing Carl's Waltzing Matilda effort. Unfortunately, the performance wasn't as great as I wanted it to be: it may be an obscure song choice but it's actually one of my favourite songs of this year, an electro-rock mini-masterpiece sung by Beth Ditto, who if you weren't aware looks slightly different to Holly:

As for Holly, Mark Holden was quite right to point out The Reigan Derry Factor, that is to say the risk in choosing challenging, hard-edged songs, when what people fell in love with you for was your softer work. I know it came from a good place - she clearly had been reading the online forums, which all pegged her as country, and she just wanted to show us a different side - but girlfriend is seriously at risk.

5. Matt Corby, "The Scientist" (by Coldplay)

DO YOU SEE? Marty isn't the only one this year with an aggressive sinciput, his bushy, Jennifer Connolly-esque brows dominating the screen. His performance was generally decent, but I would have turned off forever if a touchdown had been delivered for it: Matt's own plea of "It's too early for a touchdown" was also thoroughly obnoxious and presumptuous, as if the earliness was the only impediment to one being issued. And I seriously can't get past the ridiculous hair. Young people today...

4. Jacob Butler, "When We Were Young" (by The Killers)

MARCIA'S FAVOURITE SONG ALERT. Not content to let Dicko name it as a favourite, Marcia hilariously owned up to this being her 4,000,000th favourite song of the last few years. Hey, it's a good song, and it was a really good performance. Nicely decked out in a Brandon Flowers-esque suit, capably and energetically sung, and with a palpable desire to win. Enjoyable to watch, even if you sense that he's probably a bit of a tosser.

3. Ben McKenzie, "Sunday Morning" (by Maroon 5)

I'm still stunned at the reality that Ben has turned out to be the competition's most promising male competitor. He's so earnest and natural, it's a delight to behold. Still just 7 years of age ("I've been singing ever since I've been 7"), Ben appears to be a model child: good-hearted, talented, and easy to push through the birth canal. Yep: we were treated to a startling admission by his mother that because he was her 2nd child, he basically just slid right out of her clacker. Nice. Anyway, this was great: a bit safe, but really well sung, with an impressive sense of stagecraft developing.

2. Parasite Williams Vushe, "If I Were Your Woman" (by Gladys Knight & The Pips, and more recently Alicia Keys)

There was so much going on in the five minutes devoted to Parasite: an amusing pre-performance package, in which we learnt that her Grandma encouraged her to sing after "noticing the natural talent in me"; Kyle enquiring, "Is she legally a midget?", to which Parasite launched into some expert neck-swivelling; and a post-performance apparent rush of God through her veins, sending her into an orgasmic state of heightened pleasure and relaxation that it's very difficult to accurately describe with any justice. I'm starting to love this woman.

In any event, the performance itself was excellent. Not a rendition of 'Hakuna Matata' that the African tribal drums and chants soundtracking her pre-performance package might have led us to believe, but instead this brilliant Motown number. The Idol benchmark for this song was set in Season 3 by Anne Robertson, a similarly God-fearing sister-girlfriend, so it was a risky choice by Parasite. But she pulled it off beautifully, demonstrating a welcome and heretofore absent capacity for gentle delivery. I'm genuinely pleased to have a belting sister-girlfriend in this year's set, particularly if she continues to show patience in her singing. Meanwhile, most surprisingly, both the hosts and the entire judging panel seem to have overlooked that this song was not written by Alicia Keys: she merely re-popularised it. The original was Gladys Knight & The Pips. SHAME ON YOU AND YOUR BAD SELF MARCIA - what would Gladys think? What's the matter, not your favourite song? I find that hard to believe.

1. Natalie Gauci, "On My Mind" (by Powderfinger)

Quite simply, this was a killer performance: easily the 3rd best performance of the series (behind her own "Feelin' Good" and Ben's "Mad World"). It could have spelt disaster - the same song was performed by Tarni Stephens in the corresponding round of Season 3 and she was turfed immediately. No chance of that here. What made this so spectacular was the surprise factor of a rock song delivered with a delicious jazz bent, combined with a brilliant vocal - and you just know the arrangement was her own work. Her parents must be proud - especially her sperm donor hairdresser Dad. Meanwhile, Marcia, in her best Paula Abdul moment of the night, nonsensically declared to Natalie, "Powderfinger helped you find your mojo!". WTF? I suppose Marcia should know, being so skilled herself in the art of the powdered finger.

And there you have it. Based on performance, Marty is most at risk. But based on history and all those other voting untangibles, I'd say the biggest risk lies with Holly: send your votes her way to avoid an unfortunate Reigan Derry scenario.

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  • At 2:32 PM, September 10, 2007, Blogger Zoe said…

    What a pleasure it is to read someone with whom you agree completely. You're a genius ; )

    I'll be voting to keep Holly in, she's a gem.

    The husbang counted them, and tells me Mark da Potsy sang Vertigo using only SIX NOTES. We also thought that Booana's weird pitchy stuff was on porpoise, but she decided not to own up to it if none of the judges got it. Also, her crazy eyes are no match for Ricky's last year.

  • At 2:45 PM, September 10, 2007, Blogger Scott said…

    Shucks Zoe - what a pleasure it is to know there are people reading nodding in agreement!

    I'm especially pleased to hear about your Holly support - I feel there's something special to come from her if she hangs around long enough. I genuinely feel that we missed out last year as a viewing audience after the Derry Debacle, so hopefully we've learnt our lesson!

    You're so right about the Booanna/Ricky eyes - I'd forgotten he existed! How long do you think before Booanna busts out a Carpenters song?

  • At 3:02 PM, September 10, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    God, you're a genius Scott. So hilarious.

    I missed the start of Carl's performance and as I walked into the room I nearly dropped my dinner plate in shock and awe. This week was contestant choice so if he wins is his album going to be filled with Aussie folk songs? Ugh.

    I actually hated Jacob's. He's so repulsive to watch and his poseur moves (scissor kicks! quirky hand gestures!) were ridiculous. To me, Jacob just seems like a contestant and not a musician. Like he can't be bothered going through a music career the hard way and so just continues to try out for these reality shows so that after 15 convenient weeks he immediately gets a record contract and a #1 as opposed to building a fan base and releasing EPs and such. I hate him long time.

    I really liked Holly. "Control" is such a great song. I also thought Mark wasn't anywhere near as bad as you though. Agreed with Marty though. I hate his voice. Can't stand it. He reminds me of Dan from season 2 (I think season 2). He probably thought he could get away with being lacklustre because he's good looking (well, he's not, but apparently some girls think he is).

    And as Mark said, I thought the production on "Cry Me a River" was better than Daniel's actual performance.

    I really liked Natalie, Parasite and Holly and the two young boys were alright but I agree with you about Matt Corby. It's like he think he has it in the bag already and he just wants to win so he can start fucking groupies every night of the week.

    (wow, this was really long. sorry)

  • At 5:51 PM, September 10, 2007, Blogger TallulahBelle said…

    Agreed - I think Holly is in danger of a booting tonight, but I think it should be between Marty and Misdud.

  • At 7:18 PM, September 10, 2007, Blogger lisa said…

    that rendition of "Cry me a River" was beyond awful. How dare he do JT, how dare he.

    Holly has a boyfriend?? What the frig?! Everything, from the drumming to the demeanor to Beth Ditto screams gay, actually her boyfriend was edging rather severely toward the ugly so i guess that's another tick in the denial box. Anyway i voted for her, surely Gossip is more known than Carnival.

    And is it just me or does Ben and his family live in Kath and Kim's House?

  • At 8:19 PM, September 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can't believe Risible wasn't ranked last here, as that was the single most abortive thing i've witnessed in my life.

    Apart from that you have uncannily similar thoughts to me.

    To wit: I turned to my family members after Carl's performance and announced that the water restrictions could be lifted if only Marcia were to be standing in front of the murray darling river while judging.


  • At 9:30 PM, September 10, 2007, Blogger Adem IAR said…

    Bah, really pissed off with who went tonight. =(

  • At 10:07 PM, September 10, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    That's a real shame. What was worse though were the judges comments when they all said the three in the bottom three all deserved to be there because they were the three worst on the night.

    Their comments on Sunday sure didn't make it sound like they thought they were the bottom three. Picking a bad song doesn't mean they should be in the bottom three over someone who sang a well-known song and sang it poorly.

    Did you see Marcia as they were reading out Carl's stuff. She was gonna fire off weapons of mass destruction if he didn't get through.

    Ugh. It's alright though because I never really saw her winning the comp anyway. Why don't they just put Matt Corby into the grand final now and save us the effort of watching him try to act all modest and shy and sing modest songs that'll make the girls swoon.

  • At 10:48 PM, September 10, 2007, Blogger Leilani said…

    So glad you picked up on Nat's Dad, if memory serves he had a Husny-esque lad sitting next to him, wondered if it was his life-partner?

  • At 11:29 PM, September 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can't believe we will now have to sit through another performance by Risible...although I do feel a touch of anticipation wondering just how viciously he will manage to rape a rawk song.

    My only disagreement with yer assessment is that I reckon Krostie was not as shithouse as Misfud.

    Oh - and I thought you might like to know that according to their personal blogs, Jacob Butler is otherwise known as 'But Dog'. Add an extra T if you feel you must.

    xoxo nora

  • At 9:45 AM, September 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    andrew or james fucked up too; marty simpson didn't sing "So Lonely", he sung "Can't Stand Losing You."

  • At 3:33 PM, September 11, 2007, Blogger Zoe said…

    Nat's dad reminded me of Ian Bunton aka Bunny from Extras.

    Poor Holly. Standing in the way of control indeed.

  • At 11:28 PM, September 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great Scott you've got it
    I thought I was the only NORMAL one out here.
    I was getting lonely until you came along.
    Gotta tell you, the only one I can see here who is talented and a true artist is Natalie.
    I have seen her perform at Melbourne Venues and she is awesome.
    She deserves to go all the way
    Like Zoe said
    You're a genius
    Keep up the good work
    The Moz

  • At 8:17 AM, September 12, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    KC - why do you (and many ohers) ignore history so in predicting a Corby triumph?

    Besides his having been shit twice (I thought his performance in this show was actually much worse than 5th of 12), the simple lesson to learn is that the young guy loved by the young girls never wins.

    Cf. Rob Mills - hyped to win, came 5th; Lee Harding - 3rd; Dean Geyer - 3rd.

    Even Callea came 2nd, and he only inherited the young girl audience after the demise of Daniel Belle.

    Corby will probably make the top 3 or 4, but mark my words - the older voters with their non-pre-paid mobile phones will deliver a different winner. And most likely this will be the most deserving person (Cf. Guy/Casey/Damien). So Corby's only real chance is to actually demonstrate some of his suposed talent.

  • At 11:21 AM, September 14, 2007, Blogger Emperor Joshua said…

    God that was good. Best laugh in ages. I'm hooked now...


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