Tuesday, April 22, 2008

American Idol does ALW

I don't watch American Idol, but we've seen it a little bit this year. I've seen one or two episodes from the last two seasons as well.

We just watched tonight's show of Andrew Lloyd Webber music. (Now that it's over, The Hubby is much happier 'cuz he's watching "Deadliest Catch.")

I have no small amount of affection for Andrew Lloyd Webber. First, I am a theater geek, musical theater in particular, and I was in my early teens when "Phantom of the Opera" came out. It was a very exciting time to be a teenaged musical theater geek. Second, in high school, I put together a revue of ALW music, held auditions, directed, choreographed, produced, was in the cast... I love his early work. (I hate "Phantom" now, and his later overly dramatic stuff, but when he was young, he was a groundbreaker. And he was not afraid to write fun stuff.) Third, he and I share the same birthday.

I have seen him mentoring young reality show contestants a few times now, and I am always impressed with how helpful he is and how much he roots for them to do well. The mentoring I saw tonight was not as good, though.

So, tonight's show.

I started watching at Brooke, so I missed Syesha and Jason, but I saw their recaps. Here's some of what I thought:

Syesha: WOO HOO! STARLIGHT EXPRESS! I like this song, although I thought this arrangement had too much going on. Good choice, though, because this song doesn't have the drama of some of the others and is more about the music and the style.

Jason: Memory. Poo. He really should have chosen something from "Joseph." That would have been a lot of fun. I love "Joseph!" Why didn't anyone do "Joseph?" Jason would have been perfect.

Brooke: Some crap song from the Evita movie. Boo hiss. ALW had lost his songwriting mojo by the time this movie was made, so this song blows. I can't wait to forget about this performance. I agree with some other bloggers that she should have done "I Don't Know How to Love Him." Or how about this one: "Love Changes Everything." She could have played the piano for it and it would have been quite nice.

David A.: High School Musical does "Think of Me." (But his re-do of it was actually much better than Disney's would have been. Big Girl has a CD called "Disney Mania 5" that is Disney Channel stars singing new arrangements of classic Disney movie songs. It is horrible, especially "Part of Your World" sung by Miley Cyrus. That one is abso-friggin-lutely UNLISTENABLE.) Ahem, where was I? Oh, yes. I really liked his version of this song, even though he is kind of "The Empty Vase" (name that reference). ALW seemed miffed, but who cares?

Carly: "Jesus Christ Superstar," to the surprise of NO ONE. And it was (apparently) ALW who made her switch from a ballad from "Phantom" (what was she thinking?). Yeah, she sounded good and it was the most rockin' (shock, it's his rock musical), concert-like song of the night. So why was it that all I was thinking the whole time was "this just shows how talented musical theater performers really are?" Because they can wail on that song, while dancing up a storm, and then do a gorgeous ballad later in the show, all while inhabiting a believable character. Pop singers, whatever dude.

David C.: Oh no he didn't. "Music of the Night?" And not re-arranged, either. The original, creepily dramatic, make-you-want-to-puke "Music of the Night." Would Bono ever sing "Music of the Night?" NO. I have thought every time I watch that there is something about this guy that is just... off. And tonight I think I maybe figured it out. He was wearing a long, flowy scarf around his waist while singing "Music of the Night." He doesn't know who he is. Look in his eyes. He has no idea. His eyes say, "please tell me who I am."

So. Many kids watch this show, and this is probably the first time they've heard these songs. Their reactions must have been completely different from mine, since I have lived with these songs so long that they have their own personalities, some of which I am over.
There were some real misfires, and some actually good ALW stuff that I think people would have really liked was not used.

And also, my husband and I are having a debate about whether they pick their own songs or are assigned songs. Anyone know?

I never watch the results show. What usually happens? Is someone going to sing more ALW music?


Mrs. G. said...

I agree with your take. I didn't feel like any of them connected with the real message of the songs. ALW is only for pros. And your're right-musical theatre takes a special set of chops.

Sarah O. said...

My family started watching AI last season and we haven't missed an episode since. Yes, we have no life.

As you know, I also have ALW's birthday but I'm not too into him. I'm not too into our other Broadway musical giant, Stephen Sondheim either. But I am into fellow birthday mate William Shatner! In fact, I'd like to hear him emote to ALW and Sondheim.

So I was pretty shocked that Carly left. AI can be pretty unpredictable.

I like the two Davids best. I think David the Rocker's gonna win this year. But you just never know.

daysgoby said...

I don't watch AI, so I can't comment to this...but I wanted to say that I love your tagline.
I clicked over from Twitter (Hello! You're following me!) and I'll be back, I'm sure!

JCK said...

I don't watch American Idol, but I am impressed by your musical theater background. Can't wait to see you sing with your band- hopefully this summer!

Jason said...

I agree with you on all counts, except for David C. I thought he was brilliant. But then, I'm not a singer in two bands, and you are! :)