Wednesday, April 23, 2008

American Idol: Memories

OK, as a singer and a theater lover, I have strong feelings about this performance. I'm wondering, before I smear my opinions all over the place, what you thought (or think). Both Randy and Simon didn't like it. Paula, of course, did. You all know the song. Barbara Streisand. Cats. Andrew Lloyd Webber. Whether you watched the show on Tuesday night or not, I'd love to know if you like what you hear or not, and why. Then I'll smear my opinion all over the place. While certainly respecting yours. Cool? Here it is.


The Cachinnator said...

He may as well have been singing his grocery list. I heard nothing that indicated that he was aware of the meaning behind the poetry of the lyrics that he recited. I did hear someone trying to sound passionate and cool, but there's a world of different between someone trying to sound passionate and someone actually sounding passionate.

This Southern Belle said...

An unmemorable performace (pardon the pun ;) )

Popcorn said...

Least least least favorite of the evening.

cool dad said...

Cachinnator summed it up for me.

Curious how they can practice this for several days and not realize what it sounds like. Are they allowed to record themselves and watch/play it back?

majorsteve said...

I was very surprised last night to see Castro still on the show. I agreed with Randy and Simon on this one. Part of the problem may be that he's so young he just doesn't know how overplayed this song has been. He'd probably never heard it before, and if I had never heard it before I might have liked it better myself. Lucky for him, most of the young girls who "vote" had never heard it before.

Katy said...

I didn't like it at all. I'm in an AI pool, and I picked Jason to go home.

On the other hand, I thought David Cook's rendition of Music of the Night was spot on. I loved it.

majorsteve said...

Ok FAncyPants...what's the verdict?

Super Churchlady said...

Kind of sounded like Sally on When Harry Met Sally when she was in the restaurant. Get it? Like he might hyper-ventilate at any moment.

MeR said...

I liked it.

Amy said...

I didn't like it, but I hear the iTunes version is better. :)

truevyne said...

I have never once watched an entire episode of Idol. Maybe it's the title?
Anyhow, I watched this just for you Fancy. Yes, you are that special. I expected something knock out, but maybe only girls make "Memories" a fabulous song?!? Doesn't that song usually change octaves? I'm no singer, but I didn't hear much to inspire me though he's probably a tremendous singer with otherwise. Right?

FancyPants said...

OK guys, you wanna know what I think? Here it is:

I loved this. I absolutely loved it. I knew that some wouldn't like it, but I admit I'm surprised that most of you didn't. No one out there besides me and Mer liked this?

I'm not the biggest fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber, but I love this song. And I love how it's been sung in the past. I especially loved Babs singing it.

But there is something so honest about the way Jason sang this song. He didn't try too hard. He just breathed it out, and I have to say there is something so refreshing about that. I actually disagree strongly with Cach, well most of you. I think he connected with the lyric and showed it in an appropriate way. It seemed honestly passionate to me.

Can I say this? That I am a little tired of hearing singers try to sing musical theater all the same way. Extremely bright, nasal, too forward. Sure they have personality but so many times it's contrived personality. But there's no personality in the voice! Nothing that sets them apart for who they are. They all sound like each other trying to sound like someone else.

As a recording artist, I spent years trying to get everything "taught" out of my voice, to be real and raw and honest and vulnerable, and I don't know why that can't be the case with musical theater. In any case, here, he doesn't have to be "musical theater." He needs to be himself, and I think that's exactly who he was. I could buy this recording. I think his voice is stunningly beautiful. The breath, the spin. It's unique.

Seth and I think he looks like John Travolta, btw.

majorsteve said...

ok check it out dog..(my Randy impression):

I watched this again, and I really don't have a problem with the way he sang it, it was very honest and vulnerable, it's just that I can't get by that song. And those lyrics, "I can smile at the old days, I was beautiful then" sung by a 22 years old young man are incongrous.

Super Churchlady said...

I still maintain my Sally analogy:

I expected him to sing.....


Amy said...

He DOES look like John Travolta!!

And you can buy it on iTunes.

And I thought you probably liked it because why else would you blog about it?

And you don't like Andrew Lloyd Webber?

Fork said...

Hey Fancy, I didn't watch the video, but I HEARTILY agree with your assessment of what I used to call the "New Broadway" sound. I guess it's not "new" anymore but you know.

It sucks. See, unlike 95% of the kids auditioning for musicals in this City, my vocal chords aren't made of plastic. And neither are yours. That's what sent me over the moon about your Belle.

I used to think something was wrong with me that I couldn't produce that kind of sound with my voice. Now I realize that I just sing like a normal person. Well, as normal as you can get with a ukulele anyway.

I dunno. Honestly, I think the only way we'll get past this unfortunate artificiality is by somehow tricking the money-scared producers on Broadway cast more actors who sing.

Case in point, go see 'South Pacific' as if your life depended on it. They do student rush ($20!)and the theatre is two blocks from your apartment. :^D

Aren't you glad you have friends who look out for you?

MeR said...

Amber - Thank goodness someone felt the same way. I loved it and I love him.

Fork said...

And another thing!

Maybe what sent me spiraling into a musical neurosis for the past two years is that nowadays, if you don't have a belt like Whitney Houston and Sutton Foster's love child, people say, "Oh, s/he's not a great singer."

Seriously, y'all.

Maybe that's why I avoid American Idol. Yeah, it means I'm out of the loop, but it also means I get to keep my SOUL!

I mean...puppies.

FancyPants said...

Amy, it's true, I liked it. Although sometimes I blog about things I don't like very much, like bedbugs in my building and mice in my apartment and getting evicted.... Yeah, I'm not the biggest fan of ALW. I was a huge fan of Phantom when I was a kid, but other than that, I can't name a musical of his that I absolutely love. I really can't stand Jesus Christ Superstar. I don't know, it's the music that I'm not crazy about. That's just me.

Fork,Honestly, I think the only way we'll get past this unfortunate artificiality is by somehow tricking the money-scared producers on Broadway cast more actors who sing.

Let's devise the most devious trick ever. How do we do it? And you DO know that Jason plays the uke? Yep. And Foster Shmoster. I personally like her and the way she sings "Astonishing," but we're not all Sutton Foster. I also like a good belt. Boy, do I ever. But if we're belting just to belt, whupdeedoo. And belt to me does not mean, "Sing this like you're a third grader on crack."

annie said...

My comment's a little late here, but Jason Castro COULD sing his grocery list, and I'd probably still vote for him. I don't see the Travolta thing, but he is extremely charming and "real" on stage. I don't know that he has a chance to win the whole thing, but he is my favorite! A sweet, refreshing voice.

FancyPants said...

I agree, Annie. Welcome! A refreshing voice. I personally hope David Cook wins. I think he brings so much artistry to the competition and I think he's the most talented.

Roy said...

I'm just the opposite of you, Fancy, possibly because my background is different. I haven't OD'd on musical theater, but I was pretty steeped in pop music, and that whine was done to death in pop ballads of my era.

I didn't think it was musical enough, and I didn't think it was anguished enough. The style would have worked for a simple sad song like Michael Jackson's "She's Out Of My Life", but not this one.

n.b.: this song was made famous by Elaine Paige, although Barbra and Barry Manilow and many others have done it, too.

FancyPants said...

Oooh, let me clarify. I haven't OD'd on musical theater, either. Not by a long shot. I' have grown tired of hearing new singers in the musical theater genre sing the same way. And it's many times a contrived sort of nasally pseudo-belt that makes the singer feel like they're singing a belt. It's frequently found in the pop musicals being produced. And even more so, in auditionees attempting to land a gig. I'm being critical, I know. But it's a frustration of mine.

I think musical theater singers could learn from Jason, to the extent of finding their individual, unique, natural sound. I agree that if Jason were actually in this musical, he would have fallen short. He would have needed more, or maybe just a different approach, if at all possible. But for what he does, I feel that it was appropriate. I'm not sure that more anguish or drama would have suited the pop/folk style.

Jason is not a musical theater singer. He's a pop/folk singer. So his approach should be different and should sound different. I don't think he should change his approach just because he's singing a musical theater song. And judging on his pop ability, I really felt that this song suited his voice.

For the record, I watched him tonight and wasn't a fan.

Oh, and I saw Barry Manilow walking down the street the other day. Weird lookin' guy, that dude.

audrey said...

hate it!!