Scott, To Be Certain


Monday, October 08, 2007

Idol Top 8: UK Not Be Serious

Hello viewers!

I have finally returned from my two week sojourn in the Orient, in which I climbed the Great Wall, consumed copious amounts of duck, dumplings and tea, and learned to dramatically summon mucus from the deepest, darkest depths of my digestive tract for immediate disposal anywhere, anytime, and preferably when extremely busy.

No ellipses either, kthx

Sadly, I viewed no such discouraging signage: it remains a national pastime, and they are proud of it. I believe most Chinese smokers (overwhelmingly men) maintain their habit simply to ensure an ample reservoir of future chesty output. So I thought: when in Rome Beijing...

By and large China, upcoming host nation of the Olympics, is eager to portray its people as patient and considerate and who don't require signage that makes nasty assumptions. (Except when they do.)

A decent skill they are equally obsessed with is the art of the massage, particularly that of the foot. Some practitioners fancy themselves skilled in "special massage", which I discovered first hand, so to speak. If only I'd been female I might have also taken advantage of this bargain:

Now onto all things Idol.

Thank you to Woodsman who caretook S2BC in magnificent fashion in my absence. He has again blogged some tidbits from last night on his own site, Billable Units - do pay him a visit to ensure he makes those musings weekly.

The "theme" last night was 'Brit Pop'. For my return, The Marcia God actually dressed as God for the first time, draped in my parents' late 70s dining room curtains. There simply had to be some sandals underneath that desk to complete the ensemble, don't you think?

As for the contestants, they put on a fairly decent hour's worth of entertainment, which was mercifully straightforward and filler-free (just the performances and judges' comments - whooda thunk it?).

So how do they sit this week?

8. Jacob Butler, "Let It Be" (by The Beatles)

Oh how deliciously ironic that in BRIT POP WEEK, his absolute favourite genre, Jacob puts in the worst performance of the night, complete with botched falsetto and embarrassing faux dramatic posturing with the microphone stand. This career is not going to happen: perhaps he should look no further than his own name for an alternative. Mark still valiantly tries to find positives in Jacob's defence, but Dicko was beautifully blatant, also seizing the opportunity to label "Let It Be" a dog of a song. Of course, expert songwriter Marcia doesn't think there was ever a dog of a Beatles song, but she's wrong - there was "Salty Dog", from their Magical Mystery Tour album, which must be one of the most unsubtle examples of lyrical imagery in musical history.

7. Barty Simpson, "Naïve" (by The Kooks)

Barty inexplicably mimicked the British accent of the original vocal for most of this performance, not entirely dissimilar to that adopted by Kylie Minogue about 3 weeks after her first trip to the UK. He's clearly on borrowed time and it's painful to watch, with Dicko taking the unprecedented step of appealing to viewers not to vote for Barty on the basis that the show is an inappropriate medium for his talent. He even euphemistically asked for Barty to be euthanased, which one truly wishes were an actual ongoing voting option on this show.

6. Carl Risible, "Can't Buy Me Love" (by The Beatles by way of Michael Bublé, WHAT A FUCKING SURPRISE)

Utterly mediocre and virtually unlistenable, another example of his style aptly described last week by Woodsman as "spoken word". There's no semblance of vocal strength or control anywhere here, and the one-note nature of all his performances is fatiguing. Somehow Mark disagreed, commending Carl on "staying in his niche", or perhaps it was 'niece', but either way it sounds like something Mark would advocate. Meanwhile Marcia commended him on his props, which as usual amounted to nothing more than a skinny necktie and a microphone. Well, there was also that wet garbage bag mascarading as a leather jacket. WTF?

5. Natalie Gauci, "Rehab" (by Amy's Winehouse)

I have no doubt that Natalie shares some of Amy's white girl soul sensibility, but this was a woeful song choice. It's an utterly amazing song, musically and lyrically, but it's so idiosyncratic and specific to Amy's life experience that taking it as an allegory is simply not possible. It's like saying the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready To Make Nice" isn't just about responding to the media fallout of their anti-Bush comments, but also more broadly a haunting anthem for people uniquely unprepared for holidaying in the south of France.

4. Daniel Mifsud, "Message In A Bottle" (by The Police)

This guitar wishes it was a cane, Vaudeville style

It pains me to put him above Natalie, who is a far better contender. But based on last night - more thanks to Natalie than to his own output - he belongs here. It was adequate, although for the second consecutive week, Daniel showed that he genuinely believes enlisting some mournful strings and slowing down an otherwise uptempo song equates to cleverness. Dicko understands the folly of this strategy, but Marshmallow Mumu Marcia thinks that what the show is about. It's also clearly about playing songs exclusively from her vast Favourite Songs repertoire - this one is allegedly part of her "tapestry". Is that what she was wearing?

"I love that song too"

3. Ben McKenzie, "Wonderwall" (by Oasis by way of Ryan Adams)

This poor boy is being subjected to some of the most uncomfortably repetitious and almost predatory gay double entendres in the show's history. James Mathison introduced Ben with a tongue in (butt) cheek reference to his potential elimination tomorrow night, a misjudged bit of attempted humour that sounded exactly like cheeky post-coital banter, coming on the back of (<-- do you see what I did there?) last week's "If you want to get behind Ben..." Andrew G was in on it too, putting his hand on Ben's lower back and declaring, "This is what behind the scenes of Ben McKenzie looks like", then dropping the words "extra long 12 inch" into the following sentence, topping it all off with the enquiry "Do you get nervous when you're here?" HE IS 16, for Marcia's sake! And a Hillsong member (allegedly [thanks Franklin!] one of 4 in the top 8!)! Hang on, that's probably rather appropriate.

2. Jennifer Connelly, "Bittersweet Symphony" (by The Verve)

Looking like a jockey sponsored by David Jones, Jennifer sang about "all the roads he's been down" as though describing aisles in David Jones, where his Mum probably exclusively shops. The only genuine angst this boy has experienced is on the shitter after a particularly fiery chili con carne. Kyle summarised the production goals for this year's series when he said to Jennifer, "You could be a worldwide star." That's something Idol has never produced, so the producers are seeing their meal ticket with this guy, who could be the first slim, good-looking Australian winner ever. It explains Mark doling out the touchdowns willy-nilly, nonsensically distributing another here. But it was at least better than Daniel's last week, was stronger in most departments than everyone bar Tarisai and there's no denying he's interesting to watch.

1. Parasite Williams Vushe, "Somebody To Love" (by Queen)

The night was clearly Parasite's, who took her inspiration this week from some very successful bitches.

And girlfriend sho nuff done brought it on home! Mm-hmm. This performance was both extremely well executed and very clever: she balanced her trademark shouts with some gentle and beautifully controlled moments, and by introducing it as "A little song about me" she ensured that past criticisms of her failure to connect with song lyrics were obliterated. Freddie Mercury's words here lent themselves spectacularly to Tarisai's particular type of vulnerability as a single, diminutive, psychotic, God-obsessed non-Australian and allowed her to build the song memorably. There was light, shade, and various other components of a midsummer afternoon in a park, but ultimately this was ABOUT HER: "Everyone wants to put me down, they say I'm going crazy..." It was imbued with such a torrent of genuine feeling that we instantly forgive her those couple of bung notes.

It elicited the first quadruple standing ovation from the judging panel in a very long time. Marcia said she's feeling Tarisai, a disturbing admission; Kyle wanted to feel her, because she also looks like a black Tamara Jaber; meanwhile Mark tried to pull the poor bitch right off the stage with his touchdown high five tae kwan do move. It was a deserved touchdown performance - the ONLY ONE THIS YEAR MIGHT I JUST ADD.

My pick? Marty to go if they wisely follow Dicko's advice, otherwise Jacob or Daniel based on last night's performances and past voting patterns. It really is time that those 3, together with Carl, get the fuck off our screens to allow the decent ones to get down to business:

That's the only way this thing can go to make it both tolerable and meritorious.

S2BC's Top 20 Greatest Australian Idol Performances countdown will continue shortly, as well as some other equally earth-shattering goodies, so stay tuned.

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  • At 5:03 PM, October 08, 2007, Anonymous Just Sayin' hmm mmm said…

    The double entendres re poor Ben sure do get worse each week. By the way, he is NOT in HIllsong.

  • At 6:00 PM, October 08, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    It's quite disturbing actually seeing grown men make anal sex jokes about a 17-year-old. And then Kyle for two weeks in a row telling Jennifer that he wants to have anal sex (effectively) with him - and Jennifer reacting as if "doesn't everybody?" It's getting crazy in that room.

    The touchdown for Tarisai was well-deserved. She showed emotion that I haven't seen since Guy's "Climb Every Mountain". The touchdown for Matt was utterly absurd. He got it for "that one note". WOW. I love how they rag on Tarisai for picking songs she doesn't connect to yet the latest cast member for Priscilla (judging by the wig he's sporting lately) can sing "The Scientist" and "Bittersweet Symphony" like willy nilly and nobody seems to bat an eye (too distracted by his terrible attrocious hair I imagine.)

    I still can't stand to watch Jacob. The way his mouth moves as he sings to his silly faux poseur rock moves and his ridiculous outfits just make me wanna punch him in the face.

    Tarisai sure was amazing though. I'm glad James told Holdon off for calling her "Tiramasu".

  • At 6:02 PM, October 08, 2007, Blogger PopGoesCanberra said…

    That comment about the South of France is HILARIOUS Scott! Fuck.

  • At 6:27 PM, October 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's bad enough that the judges continue to ignore Ben's subtlety and genuine connection to the material he's singing in favour of Matt's looks and, um, well... looks, but you too Scott?

    That version of 'Bittersweet Symphony' had all the emotional connection of an accountacy textbook, and Matt was dressed like a woman from head to toe.

    Ben, on the other hand, continues to be the one light of hope for this show. Consistently earnest, fragile and adorable. I've had 'Wonderwall' in my head all day. I even voted for the little scamp.

    As for Tarasai's lame-arse 'This is a story about me', does she really think that makes it about her? A good performance, sure, but the 'message' basically amounted to 'I don;t like being criticised'. Nexxxxxxxxxxxxt!


  • At 6:29 PM, October 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ps. Scott, you said NOTHING about Ben's actual performance...


  • At 6:35 PM, October 08, 2007, Blogger TallulahBelle said…

    I'd put Ben just slightly below Tarasai based on last night's performance - I just can't get past Matt's fucking ridiculous hair. Yeah, he can sing but Holden's continual lovefest has meant that a contestant I might think okay but not my bag of beans, ends up on his way to being completely hated. If Matt doesn't win - and I still maintain he won't - then it will be because of Holden, people will backlash big time. And word on Tarasai's being the only deserved td of the series so far.

  • At 9:08 PM, October 08, 2007, Blogger Zoe said…

    Natalie just said that Alan Jones was one of Australia's greatest journalists, so that's me on Team Ben for good.

    It's very good you're home, too.

  • At 11:43 PM, October 08, 2007, Blogger lisa said…

    but what about Marcia saying "i don't know about keys"


    I thought she was god's (as in her own) gift to the world of singin', how could she as the musician she always labels herself not know about keys!??!

    I got some inside gossip form someone that works on the live shows.

    Kyle - used to drink only coke, but now he realised he is fat so it's water
    Dicko - always water
    Mark - Coke-zero - and apparently he is insane
    Marcia - now drinks water, but up until very recently she was drinking 2 to 3 red bulls a show. I think it explains so much.

    Welcome back scott

  • At 11:54 PM, October 08, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    Oh! yay! Jacob's gone! I missed the show until the very final moments so who was in the bottom three with him?

  • At 9:15 AM, October 09, 2007, Blogger Rowena said…

    Bottom three was Jacob, Daniel and Carl... deserving I thought, though Marty was conspicuously absent. Very happy the little sweaty slimy chipmunk has gone!

  • At 12:19 PM, October 09, 2007, Blogger Jess said…

    "This guitar wishes it was a cane, Vaudeville style"

    Fuck ME, I just roared over that quip! Don't even get me started on the amazing signs from China.

    I have stuff to tell relating to the Hillsong/Idol issue, and also desperately wish to chug back coffee with you and talk excitedly about anything and everything as soon as humanly possible.


  • At 4:21 PM, October 09, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    What Mark said was right - Dicko's pleas to voters to kick him off worked in the opposite way. Naffwit.

  • At 9:50 PM, October 09, 2007, Blogger Adem IAR said…

    Welcome back Scott :)

    "This career is not going to happen: perhaps he should look no further than his own name for an alternative."

    Fuck me, I totally choked on air laughing at that.

  • At 9:56 PM, October 09, 2007, Blogger PetStarr said…

    "perhaps he should look no further than his own name for an alternative" - CLASSIC!

    Top stuff, although I thought Taramasalata looked more like Oprah than Janet on Sunday.

  • At 9:02 AM, October 11, 2007, Blogger Rowena said…

    Incidently, in response to the comment above of "just sayin' hmm mmm", I was just informed by a very reliable source that while none of the Idol finalists are in Hillsong itself, they are involved in other AOG (Assembly of God) churches, which are closely affiliated with Hillsong. The head pastor of Hillsong is the Australian head of the AOG group, so any church within the AOG looks to him for guidance. So, yes, Andrew G was able to declare that none of the finalists were in Hillsong, but it was a very very fine distinction to make.

    The difficulty is that the better singers left are the ones in the AOG churches, so while people could try and point fingers and say that it's all rigged, they are just better, so they should be the ones to get to the final four! If I understand it correctly, the AOG church members are Ben, Matt, Tarasai and that guy with the scarf. Apart from Natalie, the first three are are the best singers left in the Top 12, so I won't be surprised if they are our top 3. In fact, I'll be pleased!

    The question must rise, however, what about all those people who were NOT AOG members and didn't get put through earlier in the competition... was it a factor? It's a very interesting coincidence, in my opinion.

  • At 6:38 AM, October 12, 2007, Anonymous Freddo said…

    I was thinking about the whole Hillsong/AOG thing and apart from the obvious fact that they sing every week, and probably from a young age too, so their voices and ears are trained well, perhaps the producers are affiliated with AOG/Hillsong in some way. Maybe the good lord speaks frequently to the producer and commands him to choose Pentecostal contestants? It would explain how much decent talent was mysteriously discarded even in the first audition stages. But it doesn't explain why a weed like Marty got into the top 12 who isn't affiliated with.. well.. anything.

  • At 4:38 PM, October 12, 2007, Blogger Scott said…

    KC - I'm not sure I would go so far as to say that Tarisai reached Guy territory. She was certainly earnest and her effort was commendable, but it wasn't without its cheese.

    PopGoesCanberra - I aim to please!

    Weasel - disagree about Tarisai. I'm not a rabid supporter but she's quite good, and she showed this week that she's actually working out how to play it. I thought it was a genius song selection - I believed she believed the song was about her! Perhaps that makes her both unloved and vain? As for Corby - I'm by far a fan, but it was slim pickings. On the whole I agree with you entirely about Ben - but he's just not reaching where he's capable of. He's kind of flatlining below his potential like De Rouge did (except with much more interesting song choices).

    Rowena and Freddo - interesting theories. Not sure what I think about all that yet.

    Zoe & Lisa - bless your socks, irrespective of their particular material.

    PetStarr & Adem - awww, you loved exactly the same sentence within moments of each other. That's not very emo, you know.

    Jess - when are we catching up?

  • At 8:29 AM, October 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    nice to no you respect matt. i do agree he didnt really have to get that touchdown. but it was up to mask holden. they dont just look at matt for his looks. have you heard his voice? ITS AMAZING. watch idol tonight actually listen to him sing. i am sick of people bagging out matt for no reason. he can sing hes got the look so just because he has got everything you dont have shut up and leave him alone.

  • At 11:33 AM, October 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ooh, you've been invaded by a teenage matt lover who has nothing better to do that to go through blogs looking for negative comments to defend... until idol is over ans s/he switches allegiance to the latest Big Brother hunk.

    I can see where you're coming from in terms of Ben not quite meeting his potential (although I thought both 'Mad World' and 'Hide and Seek 'shoulda been touchdowns really), but I don't see how this makes his performances less good than the quite generic efforts of Mr Corby, who doesn't show any real potential to rise above the medium Casey-style.

    And for the benefit of the 12 year old: I've listened to Matt's voice and I pronounce it 'Meh'.

    Now hurry up and finish the top 20, y'hear.



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