Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Soul Patrol is Back In Town

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - I had to tape tonight's American Idol Final Two showdown because I was busy ushering the Class of 2006 Robert Wood Johnson Medical School convocation at the State Theatre. Thankfully, I was able to set up my VCR correctly enough that it didn't stop the scheduled recording at an inopportune time, as my VCR did on Sunday when I inadvertently scheduled it to stop about five minutes before the season finale of The Simpsons ended. (Hopefully I'll be able to download it or something and see what I missed for myself; then perhaps I'll comment on it.)

Anyway, tonight's American Idol: I think this was Taylor Hicks' night. I was hoping for his second song that he would have done something other than Elton John's overrated "Levon"---a few weeks ago, he apparently did a great cover of the Beatles' "Something" which, from a few critics' ecstatic descriptions of it, I regretted missing---but Taylor did it well enough. In fact, I think he sang the song even better than Elton John himself did; certainly, Taylor didn't sound like he was straining or merely shouting. (I still am not all that much closer to figuring out what Bernie Taupin's lyrics actually mean, however.)

In his first performance of the night he rehashed his "Living for the City" cover and dazzled with it once again: it cut right to the heart of the words and was also fun to watch to boot. This was vintage Taylor because he not only brings soulfulness to his interpretations, but also consistently has genuine fun on the stage. He's magnetic and almost always interesting onstage.

And finally, his third performance, in which he was saddled with another generic "potential No. 1 single" ballad---this one named "Do I Make You Proud?"---and did his damnedest to try to sell it. Which I think he did, even though even he, with all his emotional intensity and sincerity couldn't quite mask the typically uninspired lyrics.

Vocally, it was miles better than Katharine MacPhee's simply weird performance of her potential No. 1 single ballad, some uplifting nonsense entitled "My Destiny." Weird because it seemed as if she lost interest in trying to create a genuinely musical performance out of it and simply just sang the words. And, in spite of the judges' effusive comments about her undeniably pretty voice, vocally she seemed rather breathy and lifeless in "My Destiny." I thought it was a near-disaster, although it thankfully didn't soil the memory of her repeat performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which she performed last week. I liked her interpretation of the classic song well enough, but Taylor's "You Are So Beautiful" stuck in my mind more that week, so I didn't give it much space. But I think tonight she actually sang it slightly better the second time around; every instance of melisma seemed absolutely appropriate to the yearning expressed by the song. This was far and away her best performance tonight...and even more impressive considering she apparently was forced to begin the opening a cappella portion of the song without a functioning earpiece to give her the first note. Guess she didn't need it, though; she was absolutely in tune from Note 1. (I won't say much about her first performance, of "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree"; it was very good, but I'm inclined to agree with Simon that it was more a decent warm-up song than anything else.)

I think this is Taylor's competition to win after tonight. Katharine kinda sealed the deal for her with a weak third performance; while perhaps there was nothing she could have done with the song she was handed, she wasn't even able to bring her beauty of voice to make it at least sound good. Taylor had three good performances; Katharine had only two. Game, set, match. A Katharine victory would be a huge upset.

See how dispassionate I seem about American Idol in this blog entry? This is why I don't vote for anyone on the show: I may like one contestant over another, but I usually never feel enough of a passionate connection to one to compel me to take the contest seriously enough to vote. There are more important things to vote for anyway, hehe. If Taylor wins tomorrow night, though, I certainly hope for the best for him. He's an interesting singer with an original style. From an American Idol, what more could you want?

Now, all he has to do is cease and desist with the repeated "Soul Patrol! Soul Patrol!" cries. It's almost as embarrassing as contestant Rickey Smith's "Hercules! Hercules!" a few years ago on this show.


So I don't know if I'm going to get a position at Barnes and Noble after all. Yesterday's interview didn't go badly, but it didn't leave me all that optimistic. First of all, I committed the sin of not being totally honest on my job application; I stated my availability as "all day" except for Friday, even though in June, with my name still signed up for State Theatre events, that is definitely not the case. So I had to 'fess up to this inconsistency---which I didn't have space to address on the application---right at the start, when she asked me to make sure. I guess that put a damper on the rest of the interview, even though I think I answered her general questions well. I was able to think on my feet in order to come up with good responses to her questions about what customer service means to me, what I want to get out of this job, etc.

Still, the interview didn't leave me with a confident vibe. And I felt odd about feeling bad about it too. It turns out that the only position they have available at my local Barnes and Noble is as a coffee server at the bookstore's small coffeeshop. Not quite my ideal position at Barnes and Noble, but I think I was able to act convincingly like it didn't matter all that much to me. The quest for job earnings makes you bullshit like that, I guess.

Maybe the anxiety about trying to find a summer job soon is just getting to me a bit. Maybe I just feel that if I don't have a summer job soon, I'll feel depressed or something. I hope it doesn't come to that.


Anonymous said...

Keep applying to places that seem interesting to you. You should land something. But if you don't, so what? Don't let it get you depressed, its not worth it.

Anonymous said...

Audition for American Idol!