American Idol
Top 10: Performances

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A | Grade It Now!
Top 10: Performances
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

"And then there were ten," Ryan says, and explains how a superstar's supplying the song list, but it's us calling the shots. He sounds very spitty and weird tonight, but he's dressed like a supernova of hip, like the missing mascot or waterboy for Franz Ferdinand. Credits...(I finally watched America's Next Top Model, which I haven't done in like two "cycles" since I prefer to read the recaps, but I wanted to see the girls. Man, those new credits are weird.) Back onstage, Ryan's get a question for you: Any Gwen Stefani fans here? Ryan tells us we're doing No Doubt songs and songs from artists and bands that inspire her like the Police, Donna Summer, and even the Cure. Even though it's...not the Cure that Blake will sing, but once again 311, which is like the DAUGHTRY thing all over again, and is still fucking unnecessary. But since I love DAUGHTRY and everybody on earth just one infinitesimal fraction of a percentage of how much I love Blake, it's no consolation.

I'll paraphrase while Ryan tries to sell us on Gwen as, among other things, an "actress": After trying to make ska salable for twelve years -- through New Wave, through hair metal, through grunge, everything that is opposed to ska, which will always be marginal, even if hugely so -- No Doubt finally gave in and made Tragic Kingdom, a "third-wave ska" (which is like third wave feminism -- another of Stefani's hobbies -- except it's not even legit and doesn't sound anything like waves one or two) album containing the truly brilliant "Just a Girl," bizarre and catchy-to-a-fault "Spiderwebs," and unrelenting "Don't Speak." They then created a fucking amazing album that surpasses both lyrically and musically anything they have done before or since, Return Of Saturn, which like Tragic chronicled the almost unbelievably uninteresting relationship between Gwen and a band member. It was critically -- and personally by me -- beloved, lyrically and musically sophisticated, emotionally complex, leaving us with "Simple Kind Of Life," "Bathwater," and "Magic's In The Makeup," three of the best songs crafted in the last thirty years of pop...but didn't make the cash or splash of Tragic Kingdom, so the band stepped back from being smart and threw everything popular at the moment into a blender, producing Rock Steady, which was of course wildly successful: every song has five words, which are repeated ad nauseum over a driving, droning, fake-exciting beat stolen from fifty years of reggae. Thus relieved of any kind of personality or artistic voice, the band fell apart, into a pile of money as big as all the houses of all the white people in Kingston.

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American Idol




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