Scott, To Be Certain


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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  • At 5:09 PM, September 24, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    See, I didn't think Jennifer Connolly was that good. It certainly didn't feel like disco to me (I couldn't see myself dancing to it at all) and the touchdown was so unnecessary. I think Holdon just wanted to give one out.

    Connolly is getting annoying with his ever-worsening hair and his annoited swagger.

  • At 5:12 PM, September 24, 2007, Blogger Scott said…

    I don\'t think he was that good either, but he was the best of an average night where no-one was particularly good (albeit much improved on last week). Agreed on the hair and swagger.

  • At 5:30 PM, September 24, 2007, Anonymous Tim F said…

    Largely agree with the ordering but would rank them thusly:

    10. Jacob - just 'cos he's so vile.
    9. Lana - the judges were being too nice to her even though they slammed her again. This was like the straight-to-video sequel to 'The Sound of Music' where the Von Trapps hide out in a New York disco while the Nazis get lost in a leather club. And Mark sympathetically implied that Lana had actually managed to sound like Roison Murphy. No fucking way.
    8. Daniel - he moans way too much, and was way off-key for the last two-thirds. No surprises that the only competent performance he's provided so far was covering Roachford.
    7. Marty - not actually better than the three above, but funnier. The split-second decision to reference the mirrorball was inspired in its awfulness. My boyfriend reckons he should do Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls" if there's an R&B week. How awesome would that be.
    6. Carl - Quite good except for the awful scatting and trumpet hand movements. The way he dangles his hand while singing otherwise is incredibly camp.
    5. Ben - I liked his performance and like him but I think he sounded a lot more tentative than the judges' warm responses would have suggested.
    4. Tarisai - I had also hoped this would be bigger, but her voice sounded excellent throughout.
    3. Natalie - Didn't like the last big melismatic blow-out, but she's incredibly endearing isn't she.
    2. Mark - best song ever for him.
    1. Matt - agree that this is a technicality, as this performance didn't move me much. His singing is excellent though and I don't think anyone in the competition to date (as in, over the last five years) has been able to be so versatile in their vocal style as he is. If nothing else he's an excellent mimic. Performance-wise this felt leaden though - he seemed to be concentrating far too much and I don't think he smiled once.

    Let's hope someone shit gets voted out tonight.

  • At 5:37 PM, September 24, 2007, Blogger Adem IAR said…

    MORE IMPORTANTLY, Jennifer Connolly was wearing a VINTAGE MADONNA T-SHIRT during the interview pre-performance last night.

    I spent actual money on him voting last night for that fact and that fact alone.

  • At 7:57 PM, September 24, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    I hated Natalie's vocal acrobatics. Hated. Detested. Reviled. I also agreed entirely with Kyle when it came to Daniel. He was "good" but I just didn't care. Nothing excited me about it.

    Jacob was terrible, but Marty was definitely the worst. So so so bad.

    I didn't think Matt was the best last night though, which is frustrating.

    It just annoyed me that Matt's song wasn't what I would consider disco. Do you see yourself on a dancefloor grooving to that? Or would you dance to Tarasai or Ben's performance? I would wager it'd be those two and not Matt who sounded more like the Beatles than the Earth Wind and Fire version he was singing.

  • At 8:00 PM, September 24, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    Oh, and Mifsud's arm thing (like he's pulling on a weight at the gym) is really annoying. That's all.

  • At 11:50 PM, September 24, 2007, Blogger lisa said…

    Scott i will tell you that Marcia commented about "loving horns" (but we knew that already) to which crazy eye James responded "we all love a horn", (hey we knew that already too).

    Love the reference to Lana and the Tee-ball, how i used to love that game.

    I like that Ben did my favourite Michael Jackson song ever and that there was also some Tina (i love me some Tina).

    happy trekking!

  • At 1:50 PM, September 25, 2007, Anonymous deaver said…

    “Must I remind you it’s pronounced “john-drah” – The Marcia God

    While we're on the topic of proper pronunciation, I recoiled in horror every time ken and monkeyboy and others (who should have known better) referred to acoustic as a-cue-stick..

  • At 5:57 PM, September 25, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    qnHahah. Tarisai was in the bottom two. That's hysterical in how stupid it is. Jacob and Marty weren't even in the bottom three. Crazy.

  • At 6:19 PM, September 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    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.

    Yes, it's going to be painful watching him as he runs away with freebie Touchdowns whilst his ego single-handedly takes on the universe.

    If Jennifer Connelly deserved a Touchdown for that performance then surely Ben's Mad World should have received one too?

  • At 6:25 PM, September 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Have an amazing holiday in China, by the way.

  • At 8:33 AM, September 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I actually thought Jennifer was tedious in the extreme. Mark was significantly better - not that he was especially good. I really hope he doesn't win. Bah!


  • At 5:09 PM, September 26, 2007, Blogger comicstriphero said…


    Mark Da Costa? I'd sure like to kick him in his Nutbush City Limits (thankyouverymuch).

    Are there any rules on this show?

    Surely, if his performance could have also qualified for last week's rock show (which I reckon it could have), how could it have been 'disco'.

    Utter rot, the lot of it.

    And those 'jeans' he wears... eeewwwwww.

    Lesbionicanism confirmed!

  • At 3:02 PM, September 27, 2007, Anonymous franklinbluth said…

    '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'

    I loved this comment, it reminds me of how during last series Lisa Mitchell was caned by Holden for having awkward stage movement, & from then on whenever she would walk three steps forward during her performances, the crowd would go wild. Idiots.

    I thought Mifsud was average, he sounded out of tune. Also, Matt did not deserve that touchdown. Holden is a nuttbag, and he demonstrated last night that he is completely useless. I think we should now be waiting for that 'ticko from dicko' thing mentioned. Perhaps your next countdown should be Aus Idol: Top 10 most undeserved touchdowns.

  • At 9:11 PM, September 27, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    Barely half of the songs were actually even 'disco' performances if you ask me. Tarisai, Lana, Ben, Carl and Natalie and I guess Daniel was on the edge. But, really, the rest weren't disco. You couldn't a) dance to them at an actual disco or b) have sex to them after a night at the disco.

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