dirty martini

old music for new people

american redneck idol May 23, 2008

i can barely be bothered to watch the american idol final on itv2 tonight now that i know snoozefest david cook has won.  ooh lets kills every assigned song with exactly the same grunge rock arrangement. how clever.

grandparent favourite david archuleta was obviously not a hugely better prospect but at least he wasn’t a throwback to the early 90s unless you think the fact that he was born in 1990 qualifies that comparison. neither of them are a leona, hell, they’re not even a jordin sparks. i’m even going to go out on a limb here and say i preferred carrie unde-robot-wood and taylor ‘father ted’ hicks.

god i just didn’t really care that much about any of the contestants after chikezie went. he peaked too early with ‘i believe to my soul’. i liked syesha but she clearly wasn’t as good as similar artists from previous years, like vonzell a few years back.

do kids still listen to complaint rock? seriously? i didn’t believe it in the 90s and i don’t believe it now. scenes of kids jumping up and down on their bed playing air guitar are always the most unrealistic elements of any movie or tv show for me, and I didn’t know anyone who did that.

at least we had a few who were enjoyably shit keeping up the sanjaya malakar/that stupid marine/jasmine trias tradition. that er, jason er…dreads bloke, clinched the cringe of the ‘season’ with his double bob marley massacre. jason castro, just looked it up. kristy lee cook was unenjoyably shit. brooke white looked like a little old alien, like gail from corrie…

doubtless there will be another ‘season’ so here are some of the better performances from the last 6 years…

ruben studdard – a whole new world

latoya london – somewhere

elliot yamin – if you really love me

tamyra gray – a house is not a home

chikezie eze – i believe to my soul

jennifer hudson – weekend in new england

mario vasquez – do i do

lakisha jones – and i am telling you

anwar robinson – what’s going on

mandisa – i don’t hurt anymore

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reality the sequel: uk vs the us August 31, 2007

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well, in my original post i didn’t have room to feature so many of the other acts we have booed, loved and voted for across seven years of reality music shows.

in the uk, we have seen some quality acts get pushed aside by the likes of michelle mcmanus, chico, G4 and the cheeky girls. hopefully some of the lesser known acts here will take the experience and parlay it into something better than the occasional stint at butlins.

download here

4tune – babygirl

well, this lot had two shots at the x factor and bombed both times. they sound surprisingly good on this track though and have recorded an answer song to don’t cha by the pussycat dolls. they can’t possibly return a third time though – they need to give that one up.

roxanne cooper – all i want for christmas

everyone was shocked when roxanne was eliminated from pop idol, having been a favourite and easily the best singer that year. surprisingly, despite rumours of record deals and coronation street guest spots, nothing has materialised and to date this mariah carey cover is her only release that i know of.

zoe birkett – treat me like a lady

another likeable curly headed girl, zoe was in the unenviable position of vying with will young, gareth gates and er, housewives favourite darius danesh on the first pop idol in 2001. after being dropped from her record label, she married and divorced fellow pop idol contestant mark rhodes and is now dating bb6 winner anthony hutton. and she’s only just 22.

girls aloud – the show

love them or hate them, its impossible to ignore the fact that the girls are the biggest success story of uk reality shows. watching them triumph over one true voice and the pathetically out of touch pete waterman was a great moment. i still really want to slap the ginger one though. imagine how different javine’s life could be if she had made the band…

rowetta – step on by the happy mondays

ok i’m cheating here but i’ve heard rowetta’s single and its not great. what people are far more interested in is her time as backing singer for the happy mondays back in the late 80s and early 90s. how cool is that? i hate indie music but i love the ravey madchester stuff like this track and how can you not love bez?

jordin sparks – tattoo

how can someone so young be so confident and level headed? especially in the face of ridiculous accusations that she is dangerously overweight at a size 16. what? she’s not thin…but fat? she’s six feet tall for god’s sake! of course she needs to wear a 16. i hope she stays as she is, and stick two fingers up at US weight nazis…

kelly clarkson – the trouble with love is

…unlike the first idol winner, who seemed to crash diet the minute she accepted her prize. i can’t say i’m too fond of her work generally and there’s something really annoying about her. she does this open mouth, eyes wide open, ‘i’m so not listening to you, whatever’ thing.

vonzell solomon – dance tonight

baby v got the soul vote in a season of dull country and rock acts. she doesn’t have the most amazing voice but has that likeability thing going on. not sure we’ll hear from her again though.

paris bennett – i’m so hot

chose the wrong songs week after week and was probably just too young for the whole thing. her album seems to be doing ok and is fairly decent if not groundbreaking.

anwar robinson – maybe after all

lovely bob marley-alike anwar is yet to release a major label album. just too nice for words and the lack of competitive spirit maybe saw him eliminated before his time. of course i got accused of fancying him for calling him ‘nice’. um no, that would have been travis tucker that year… : )

 

reality: the UK vs the US August 23, 2007

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reality tv has come a long way since hearsay and kelly clarkson. so, these are some of the best acts to emerge from popstars, pop idol, the x factor and american idol. you can also check out more acts to emerge from these shows.

download here

shayne ward -if that’s ok with you

best live performance – a million love songs (take that)

back in 2005, it wasn’t just hysterical 14 year olds voting for shayne, the entire female uk population, my mum and sharon osbourne included, had ward fever. he beat out more talented acts to be crowned winner of the x factor, but I have to say he’s grown on me. well, he is cute. started his career with drippy ballads but this soon to be released song shows he’s moving in a more interesting direction now, capitalising on the diverse vocal styles he displayed during the live shows.

anton gordon – hot romance

best live performance – cherish (kool and the gang)

where is anton? only this one track in five years? rumour has it he was turned away from this year’s x factor auditions. itv claim he just didn’t make the grade but the truth is they were embarrassed that they let pete waterman massacre his career after popstars: the rivals. one true voice was a shambles. poor old anton put in amazing performances week in week out only to be marginalised within a cheesy boyband singing bee gees covers. i could weep…and on the night he sang cherish i nearly did.

leona lewis – paradise

best live performance – i have nothing (whitney houston)

tough to pick one but this was the night i knew she’d win. leona blew us away last year in the x factor, and it was hard not to get overexcited. was she better than the girls of american idol? in some cases yes, in others, just different. american idol does belters a la mandisa and lakisha but leona is a more diverse vocalist. i can’t think of a comparative idol contestant but roxanne of pop idol in the uk comes close, albeit with much less range.

liberty x – jumpin’

best live performance….

er, i can’t remember any of their individual performances on popstars. but liberty x had some decent songs, firstly by riding the uk garage wave and then with neptunes inspired efforts like this. ok so in order to stay in the limelight they also covered a hell of a lot of big 80s soul songs like got to have your love, night to remember, ain’t nobody…can’t hurt right?

lemar – dance with you

best live peformance – let’s stay together (al green)

so far the most successful of the uk’s reality stars, along with girls aloud. lemar didn’t even win the dull and worthy fame academy but he’s the only contestant most people can remember from all three series. david sneddon anyone? thought not. in some ways, lemar has found it easier to disassociate himself than he might have done from pop idol or the x factor. both of which he could have won, no contest.

javine – surrender

best live performance – i’m every woman (chaka khan)

javine shrugged off initial public rejection to make a reasonably successful debut but slid into eurovision. as if any further depths could be plunged, whilst in daddy cool she made off with married co-star, harvey so solid. his wife, alesha dixon of girl band misteeq, has rightly used every opportunity to wreak public vengeance. then gobshite jamelia called her a slut on tv. pot. kettle. file this comeback under ‘unlikely’.

ruben studdard – sorry 2004

best live performance – a whole new world (peabo bryson)

how could anyone not love the velvet teddy bear? the confusion on ruben’s face as he took reviews from the judges on his perfomance each week was priceless. it was all so effortless for him. he hasn’t blown up yet but i think he’s more of a thirtysomething artist anyway. i can’t even believe clay aiken was a serious contender…ick. surely the most unattractive idol contestant ever – like ian beale in makeup.

latoya london – appreciate

best live performance – somewhere (west side story)

i don’t really like fantasia’s quacking vocals. for me, latoya was more talented and far classier, if not such a compelling performer. she could have been in the final another year. i’ve yet to find a better version of somewhere and so hers is the one i listen to.

elliot yamin – alright

best live performance – a song for you (donny hathaway)

i love him – chocolate, honey and vanilla wrapped up in one smooth voice. whilst soul purists may have balked at the idea, to me, elliot singing a donny hathaway song was inspired. how bland, gawky katherine mcphee and father ted impersonator taylor hicks beat him out to the final, i will never know. the proof will be in the longevity.

nikko -hot like summer

best performance – can we talk (tevin campbell)

back in the competition when another contestant dropped out, nikko turned in some great performances before he was eliminated and revived a classic tune from long forgotten r&b teen idol tevin campbell. kind of like usher with glasses, minus the stupid dancing.

mario vasquez – i bet

best performance – do i do (stevie wonder)

oh god…when mario performed stevie wonder’s ‘do i do’ in the semi final rounds, it was all over. and then he mysteriously disappeared. that ‘season’ (its a series! my bf yells this at the tv every year) descended into rock and country hell, with  carrie the country robot and throwback rocker bo in the final. 

jennifer hudson – love you i do

best performance – weekend in new england (barry manilow)

elton john vocalised what many people were thinking. it was spot on unlike his current ‘ban the internet’ tirade. how did jen slip under the radar? she totally outshone beyonce in dreamgirls and looking back, should have won that ‘season’. but i have to admit, i didn’t notice her star potential at the time either.