Thursday, November 26, 2015

'Idol': Those odious '80s

Was that Shalamar? No doubt.

‘Idol’: Those odious ‘80s




Eight finalists and a two-hour bloc of American Idol. You know what that means: 45 minutes of commercials. Wait, that treacly duet of “Islands in the Stream” between Skylar and Colton (watch at your own peril) wasn’t an ad for K-Tel records? Alright, make that 43 minutes of commercials.

The theme of the night was ‘80s music, a delightful resurrection of the songcraft of Irene Cara and Bette Midler. Sigh. Double sigh.

Ryan Seagrass, who it was announced this week will be covering the Summer OIympics for NBC, informed us before anyone started singing that the nostalgic era of the music may bring back for many of us memories of our high school proms. As usual, Ryan was spot on. The clothes were funny looking, the music sucked and my date wouldn’t talk to me.

On the plus side, we got to see a period picture of Randy Jackson from when he apparently played intergalactic villains in sci fi movies.

Steven Tyler joked that he doesn’t remember any of the music because he wasn’t around for the ‘80s. Well, I remember it and I can tell you, Gypsy Boy, you’re lucky to have been out there in space. (Just watch out for those scary leather-clad, planet-invading villains.)

The role of mentors Jimmy Iovine and guests Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal of No Doubt seemed to be to talk the contestants into ever cheesier alternatives. Elise likes Leonard Cohen? How about Foreigner.

Skylar wants to try on “9 to 5”? We’d rather you schmaltzed up “Wind Beneath My Wings”.

And I want to go down on record now because most people seem to think he’s going to win this whole thing, that I simply don’t get Phillip Phillips. Even his name bugs me. I know he’s supposed to have this whole hang-loose Jack Johnson vibe, but he just reminds me of the guy down the hall in the dorm with the carefully cultivated facial fuzz who is crazy entertaining until you realize there’s 12 songs in his repertoire.

One other thing and then I’ll shut up: Randy has got to hire his researcher back. He’s just lost without him/her. Joshua Ledet announced he was singing “If You Don’t Me By Now” by Simply Red(!). You could see Randy scouring his notes because that didn’t sit quite right. But he didn’t have the usual information on his cue cards to sound informed. This is now three weeks in a row. Get it fixed, Randy. Or invade Transfalmador.

“If You Don’t Know Me By Now” of course was the breakthrough hit for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes and was composed by Philly legends Gamble and Huff. There was another local songwriting connection last night. Colton Dixon took on “Time After Time” which Cyndi Lauper co-wrote with Penn alum and Hooters co-founder Rob Hyman.

Predictions. Your bottom three: Hollie, Elise and DeAndre (Jimmy predicted he’d be endangered. Who am I to disagree?). Outta here: Hollie.

Hold on. Maybe you glossed over the the truly bizarre sentence in that blog post: Seabreeze will be covering the Olympics. What event? Gymnastic twirling?


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Inquirer TV Critic
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