The Decemberists' Colin Meloy|
'Tis a pity. The Decemberists' verbosely Victorian frontman's gallant
quest to conquer the highly sought-after title of American Idol comes to a
dramatic and distressing end. He is amongst the final four contestants,
battling it out for all the honor and glory that comes with the vestiges
of victory. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse during
sixties-themed week. Not realizing it's the nineteen sixties, Meloy opts to sing a Civil
War-era folk song. He is immediately disqualified.
Antony and the Johnsons
Antony does surprisingly well after moving Paula Abdul to tears with his
effeminate warble. There's only one problem: in the wake of last season's
decision to split up male and female contestants during the season's early
rounds, there is much debate as to where the androgynous singer belongs.
He insists on performing with the girls' group. After vehement objection
from the show's producers, he fails to get his way. This decision
emphatically reinforces his sorrowful quest for gender-based acceptance.
Perhaps, like the song says, "one day (he'll) grow up and be a beautiful
woman," but alas, "for today (he) is a boy."
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O
"Ghastly, absolutely ghastly," proclaims Simon Cowell after a
particularly torturous rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" -- but not
before Karen has the opportunity to spew Coca-Cola, the AI beverage sponsor
of choice, all over him in her trademark rage. After this little spat,
Abdul apologizes for Cowell's harsh comments and then enviously asks O
where she got her leopard-printed unitard.
Not surprisingly, everyone's favorite freak-folk collective doesn't make it
past the initial audition round, where they attempt to sing "Leaf House" a
capella. Once Avey Tare and Panda Bear start meowing through the chorus,
their joyous tribal chanting is abruptly put to a halt. Judge Randy
Jackson claims "to not feel the performance at all", and then erupts into
a hysterical fit of laughter, just before erroneously labeling Tare and
Bear a couple of "Dawgs". Was he not listening? Kitties meow, not dogs.
But they do not argue. Without humiliation or regret, they scamper off
The judges glance at each other wearily as Newsom lugs a four foot harp onto
the audition stage. She plucks a hypnotic melody and begins to sing --
or rather, squawk -- something about bean sprouts or balloons or whatever else
it is that pixie-like harp players squawk about. The reaction is harsh but
expected. She graciously accepts their misguided opinions and soon
capitalizes on her newfound exposure. A duet with William Hung is in the
Well over the 28 year old age limit, he sneaks his way into the
competition by claiming to be a sword-swallowing teenage circus runaway
suffering from progeria. He does a rousing, gravelly rendition of "I
Believe I Can Fly", which is surprisingly inspirational and wins the
judges' pity vote. However, he fares much worse in the later themed
rounds. Disco week is particularly rough; he opts to reimagine KC and the
Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight" as a spoken-word dirge, transforming
it from feel-good anthem to a sardonically melancholy reminder of how deep
human pain and suffering can be. This doesn't go over too well with the
crowd and Waits gets the ax, missing out on the following week's showtune-themed episode.
The open call auditions land in Omaha and the earnest Oberst takes full
advantage of this opportunity. He uses the airtime to spout his liberal
politics, lament his troubled relationships and pout in front
of the camera. This doesn't go over too well with the male judges. Paula,
however, is completely wooed by his warbling quiver, glistening doe eyes
and perfectly coiffed hair.
The Fiery Furnaces
The Friedberger siblings rock Idol with a hyperactive medley of showtunes. Eleanor and Matt ambitiously combine such Broadway faves as
"Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)", "The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow"
and "76 Trombones" in an idiosyncratic nine minute epic, complete with
wah-wah pedal accompaniment. Deemed too theatrical and amateurish, they
fail to make the final cut -- much to the dismay of their 80 year old church
choir director grandmother, who insists that her grandchildren are among
the most talented in the family.
Following his comeback album You Are The Quarry, the
Pope of Mope continues to milk his resurgence in popularity by appearing
as a guest judge on the program. He proves to be much harsher than
renowned meanie Simon Cowell, providing such uncalled for criticism as
"You are a flatulent pain the arse." It might sound cruel, but let's face
it -- to the Moz, those insufferable hams just haven't earned it yet, baby.
In a cross-promotional twist with The O.C., the FOX network actually
commissions Gibbard's appearance on the Idol stage. The nasal purveyor
of all things emo sings a couple of new Death Cab tunes, all of which
happen to promote the upcoming plot twists on everyone's favorite
neo-90210 guilty pleasure. The judges sit patiently through all of
Gibbard's teen drama teases -- the drugs, the sex, the lesbian hook-ups
-- all the pangs of teenage awkwardness. We feel their pain.
In an attempt to win back that missing grand in the form of a million
dollar recording contract, Skinner drunkenly stumbles into the Idol
auditions. When asked to perform, he raps clunkily about his
unreturned DVD, long lines at the cash machine, missing tea with his mum
and other seemingly mundane British things. The baffled judges dismiss his
erratic performance, leading an angry, broke Skinner to call fellow
Brit Simon a "crock of shit".
The reclusive Mangum decides to make a comeback in the biggest way
possible: he launches a quest to rid top 40 radio of its insipid garbage
by winning Idol and infiltrating the pop charts. By performing the entirety of his Anne Frank-inspired
masterpiece In the Aeroplane Over The Sea, he wins the hearts
of Americans nationwide. His infamous "I love you Jesus Christ" line
clenches his victory in red-state America; he reminds the country of
the importance and power of universal love, endless life and unconditional