American Idol: lock them doors and turn the lights down low

Season 10 of “American Idol” is in the books. But before we get to the result, let’s talk about how bad the performances on the show were overall, in rapid-fire fashion….

The Top 13 performed Lady GaGa’s “Born This Way,” and we all expected GaGa to come out and join them, but she didn’t. Oh, but the performance was awful, and why do they make them wear all white like the Good Humor Man for these group numbers?

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American Idol: another surprise and a big finale

Last night’s season finale of “American Idol” had a bit of everything. It even had another somewhat surprising ending, at least from where I sit. Ryan Seacrest promised that there would be a few tributes to outbound Simon Cowell during the night, and there were. But here is how the rest of the show went down, and we’ll sum it up as quickly as we can:

The Season 9 Top 12 sang Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” and once we saw the school kids dressed like Alice Cooper we knew the man himself would make an appearance and he did. But he didn’t sound very good.

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It’s trailer time: “The American” without tears

Roger Ebert — there’ll be a bit more about him later tonight — always says that movies are not what they’re about, but how they’re about it. If so, this new film starring George Clooney is a real test of that thesis because, as pointed out by Jay A. Fernandez, premise-wise “The American” isn’t going to win any prizes for originality. Watch this and I think you’ll see, but if any of you English majors are expecting an adaptation of Henry James’ subtle romance, The American, think again.

Okay, so the trailer doesn’t make the hugest impression and how many “one last job” movies about professional killers and other hardcases have we seen over the years? Still, it’s all in the telling and movies are not trailers. This is the second feature from Anton Corbijn, a rock video director who has worked with U2 and Depeche Mode. His biopic of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis, “Control,” is unseen by me but has won numerous awards and wowed critics. The screenplay for “The American” is by Rowan Joffe (“28 Weeks Later“), adapted from an acclaimed novel by the late Martin Booth, A Very Private Gentleman.

It’s worth noting, however, that the character in the book is not an assassin but an expert gun-maker for assassins. A fine moral distinction, I guess, but it would be nice to learn about those expert gunsmiths who always turn up in these stories. There was a character like that employed by the ruthless murderer of “The Day of the Jackal” back in 1973. Of course, the Jackal was doing one last job himself.

  

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American Idol: Judges try hard to crown Adam

We are rolling down the hill toward the “American Idol” finale, and the judges last night were over-impressed with one Adam Lambert on a night when I thought he was good, but not nearly as good as the judges’ collective frothing at the mouth indicated. Here is how it went down…

First of all, I’m quite sure that in previous seasons at this stage, they showed the three finalists going to their hometown with a whole montage on that before performing, but this time they shortened the show to an hour and though I haven’t looked at the listings, I’m expecting a longer results show tonight. But anyway, each contestant would sing something a judge or judges picked for them, and another song of their choice.

Danny Gokey went first and the song was Paula Abdul’s selection of Terence Trent D’Arby’s “Dance Little Sister.” Not a bad choice at all, with the tone and funky chorus that is right in Gokey’s wheelhouse. The problem is that the song never really goes anywhere, but Danny did a fine job with it. Randy said it was “dope,” Kara said the song was in Danny’s money spot but that she didn’t like the dancing, Paula said she was proud of Danny, and that she as a choreographer DID like his dancing (say what?), and Simon agreed with Kara but said it was a good vocal.

Kris Allen was next, and since there are now four judges, Kara and Randy tag-teamed on this one, picking One Republic’s “Apologize.” Kris played it painfully safe, sitting at the piano and doing a good job with it, but wowing positively no one. I was bummed that they kind of gave him a lame choice. Randy said the song fits who Kris can be, Kara liked the choice but wished Kris would have changed up the arrangement and said it wasn’t a home run, Paula said she understood the song choice and that she was proud, and Simon thought it was too copycat and he gave Kara a really hard time about Kara giving Kris a hard time about the arrangement of a song she chose for him. Ha!

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